April 18, 2023 — A Deeper Walk by way of John 15

“A couple of weeks ago,” Stan commented, “a new person at our church wanted to get together to talk about how he might develop a deeper faith walk. What he and I talked about is similar to the discussion you and I had about that a long time ago. I thought it might be useful for us to revisit it.”

“Good,” I replied. “Since I’m prone to forget a lot of things, especially about my faith walk, it’s good to revisit anything that’s going to help me! What do you have for me?”

“My personal journey,” Stan said. “How God moved me along from being a non-believer, to being a believer, and then to one who was pursuing a deeper walk with Him.”

“When I first became a Christian,” he continued, “I knew without a doubt that my eternal destination had been changed forever.”

“To be in God’s eternal presence when your time here is completed,” I commented.

“Exactly,” Stan replied. “However, I had a hard time getting started with the part about knowing God for purposes of this side of eternity.”

“The part about being set apart, or sanctified, for what God has for you in being a disciple while you remain on this side of eternity. Is that it?”

“Right again!” Stan said. “As hard as I tried to develop a regular time with God to learn from Him, it just didn’t happen. I would spend some time with God for a few days, but it didn’t last. Someone suggested I try journaling prayers, devotions, and the like. I tried it but found that after a couple of days, the next entry in my journal came weeks or months later.”

“I know what you mean,” I replied. “That can be frustrating. But as I’m beginning to remember,  something happened with you to change that. But I don’t remember exactly what it was.”

“The fifteenth chapter of John,” Stan said.

“In what way?”

“My pastor at that time,” Stan replied, “suggested that a way to get started with a deeper relationship with God was to read the fifteenth chapter of John’s gospel every day for a month, praying about what God had to show me in that particular chapter.”

“Why that one?” I asked.

“That’s the chapter about abiding in the vine. Jesus is the vine. We are to abide in Him, and without abiding in Him we can accomplish nothing. Focusing on that chapter really opened me to begin understanding what it means to abide in Jesus. It helped me get started on a deepening faith walk that has only gotten deeper over the years since then.”

“How so?”

“Journaling helped me grow. After reading the fifteenth chapter of John every day for about two weeks, and praying to be opened to all God had for me to see and hear about abiding in Jesus, I began to write about what God, through the Holy Spirit, was showing and teaching me.”

Continuing, Stan added, “After I had finished with that particular chapter in John’s gospel, I continued journaling on through the Bible. My journaling in that way has continued to this day.”

“So,” I replied, “this is something you would recommend to new believers as a way to draw closer to God?”

“It is,” Stan said, “but not just for new believers. I suggest it for anyone who wants to develop a deeper relationship with God.”

“However,” he continued, “as I told the fellow from church, I recognize that journaling may not be for everyone, but it’s worth a try. For me it has been the way to seek and to find what God has for me. It has made a difference with me and my faith walk, and it may do the same for others.”


Bible verses to consider:

I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5.

You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you. John 15:16.

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13.

Seek, and you shall find. Matthew 7:7.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you want me to draw ever closer to you in a deepening personal relationship built on abiding in Jesus. I confess that there are too many times when I choose not to abide the way you intend because I choose to abide in something else, something apart from you. Please forgive that foolish approach to living the life you have given me to live. Help me to follow every step of your lead so I do, in fact, pursue an ever-deepening abiding relationship with you. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious provision of life eternally with Him so you can abide as He intends? If no, why? What is standing in the way of accepting what He has for you? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with abiding in Jesus and with having Jesus abide in you? Would you like to have a deeper relationship with God in Christ? Why or why not? If you would, have you considered, as Stan suggests, journaling as a way to a deeper abiding relationship? If you haven’t, it’s sure worth a try! 

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