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Next Step – Day 16

Next Steps  

 A 30-DAY GUIDE FOR NEW BELIEVERS
by JOHN D. BECKETT

DAY 16                      ABIDING: THE HEART OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

How do I stay close to Jesus?

If I could, in the course of these 30 days, leave you with one burning desire, it would be this: To stay closely connected to Jesus. The term used in the Bible is “to abide” with Jesus, which means to remain united with, to stay intimately connected. (A quick note here: when it comes to “abiding” — staying close to Jesus — I am still a learner. It’s an area where I, and most Christians, need to grow.)

Some will say the key to staying close to Jesus is to learn “doctrine” — the foundational teachings of the Christian faith. Without question, sound doctrine is important. In its absence, many have gone into error. But as Oswald Chambers points out, “It is possible to know all about doctrine and yet not know Jesus. The soul is in danger when knowledge of doctrine outsteps intimate touch with Jesus” (August 16).

Others will say following Jesus consists of doing good deeds. Again, good deeds are important and God commends them; for example, in Paul’s admonishment against idleness: “Brethren, do not grow weary in doing good” (2 Thessalonians 3:13). But our activity can easily become a substitute for “abiding,” putting the cart before the horse, for as we’ll see, good works flow out of a close relationship with Jesus.

In John’s gospel, Chapter 15, Jesus provides a powerful metaphor to describe the intimacy He desires with you:

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing (John 15:4,5).

The branch of a tree is totally dependent upon the trunk for support, nourishment and vitality. From the moment a branch is cut off, it withers and dies. But when properly connected there is a continual life flow. This transmission of energy, strength — indeed purpose — is what brings forth “good fruit” — a fruitful, productive life.

This is the “abiding” relationship Jesus had with His Father. If you follow the pattern He established, you will stay closely connected to Him and to the Father.

  • Jesus trusted completely, confident that the Father knew what was necessary and what was best.
  • Jesus was in continual dialogue, watching and listening for the Father’s initiative, then obeying immediately.
  • Jesus enjoyed being in the Father’s presence, dwelling securely in His love, care and protection.

Oswald Chambers, quoted earlier, said in his June 14 writing that you can “abide” — stay close to Jesus — “in intellectual matters, in money matters, in every one of the matters that make human life what it is.”

Here’s the major challenge you will find: You will feel like you have something to do first — before you can “abide.” That’s a trap! Abiding is now, not in the future. It is here, not there. Make staying close to Jesus the number one objective in your Christian journey. Learn to abide in Him.

KEY SCRIPTURE

       Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).

KEY THOUGHT

         Abiding is now.

Copyright © 2006 by John D. Beckett

God wants a relationship with us and He knew us in the womb before we were even born. He loves you and wants to build a relationship with Right Where you Are – you don’t have to fix anything, or stop doing something, or be perfect to come to Him. He helps you, by you asking and believing, succeed at overcoming whatever it is you feel you need to change first.

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