Unbroken Fellowship

Unbroken Fellowship

As I’ve been reading through John 13-17 over the last few months, the word “Abide” leaps off the pages as I hear Jesus’s voice say to his disciples, “Abide.”

Abide in me he says, and I abide in you.

We make our Abode in you. (John 14:23)

It left me wondering, what does Christ abiding in me and me abiding in Christ look like?

Thankfully, it doesn’t take long to see Christ as an example of abiding with His Father. We see this play out in John 13:21-27 as He releases Judas to betray Him. The bible says that “Christ was troubled in spirit.”

One takeaway for me is that abiding doesn’t mean life is easy. Abiding through the hard of life is a gift Christ gives to us. He has unbroken fellowship with us in the midst of the hard things.

Jesus knows what is ahead, though his disciples do not. Jesus knows He must go to the Cross. Jesus knows He must suffer. Jesus knows that one of the disciples whom He loved, must betray Him. At the end of the exchange you don’t see Jesus being mad at Judas. You hear him say, “What you do, do quickly.”

Abiding in Christ through the hard moments is a gift. Let’s embrace Christ’s unbroken fellowship with us through the hard.

Second, as we go through these chapters, we see that “pruning” is part of the process. Jesus says “I am the vine. My father is the vinedresser (gardener).” (John 15:1) Abiding in Christ, means Christ staying connected with us and us staying connected with Him. He then goes on to see that “the branches that bear fruit, I will prune, so he bears more fruit.” (John 15:2)

Pruning can be painful, and yet it leads to more fruit and more growth. Pruning can take many forms, but in its most literal form its a process where a gardener cuts off part of the plant so it can grow even more. I don’t know about you, but pruning does not sound fun to me.

As I look at seasons in my life and think of when God has pruned me, they are often in times of waiting, times of transition, and even in times of success. It’s not necessarily rock-bottom moments, but times where we need to lean in and trust God.

As you experience the Lord’s pruning, in whatever form it may take, don’t rush through it. Take your time and let the Lord take you through all He has for you. One of my mentors often asks me, “What does God want to do in you Ben? How does He want to transform you?” This is the most important question. Be open to the Lord’s pruning and know that He abides in you as He prunes you.

Finally, we see Jesus continue to point us to love as the key to abiding. Love as the measure of what abiding looks like. Love as the call to how we treat others. This shouldn’t surprise us coming from God as love is God.

Abiding looks like loving God be keeping His commandments. Abiding looks like loving God by loving others.

As you go throughout your day, what does love look like for you?

I’m convicted and encouraged by Paul’s description of love in 1 Corinthians 13. He calls it “the most excellent way.”

He says love doesn’t get angry (I”m guilty), doesn’t keep a record of wrong (I’m guilty), doesn’t get easily offended (guilty). And yet Paul also says love is patient, love is kind, that love bears all things. I am so grateful. While I fall short of this daily, the Christ who abides in me does not. I experience and know His love every moment of every day.

As you think of what abiding means to you, consider these questions:

  1. Is your heart a welcome home for the King of kings?
  2. How might Christ want to transform you in this season?
  3. What does love look like in your life? Are you living the most excellent way?

Here’s a link to a sermon I preached that incorporates some of these themes.