An Elm Tree
Writing has been sparse but not my thoughts of you all.
All too often, Christians seek to “grow spiritually” without realizing that the call of the spiritual life is first and foremost to abide in our union with Christ. Day 6 Closer Than Close by Dave Hickman
I dare say many of us would describe ourselves as Christians striving to grow to be more like Jesus. It’s exhausting! And often disappointing and frustrating — at least it has been for me. But I’m learning! 🙂
It was not meant to be this way. We did not learn that from Jesus. Matthew 11:29-30 (KJV) 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. See?
We have an elm tree; given to us by a dear friend a few years ago – just a little thing. Today it is well on its way and it is absolutely lovely. Here see for yourself.
In all these years though I have not seen that tree striving and worrying and wondering what else can I do to grow; what else can I do to be like other Elm trees. Nope. Not once.
The tree just received.
She received sunshine and rain and a little fertilizer from time to time when we remembered to give it to her. We’ve pruned her a couple of times and as I said she is lovely. And what did she do to be so lovely?
Just BE. Just Receive.
I know we are not elm trees. Elm trees do not get to choose their nutrients or their gardeners. We Do!
We began our life in Jesus by choosing Him. That is when He offered us Eternal Life purchased for us by His very own Blood we said yes. We chose Him. Now the abiding part and the growing part and the trying to be close to Him part that gets us all bent out of shape the wrong way.
John 15:5 (KJV) 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. source
So what is abiding anyway? I have an answer for me and I am so satisfied with it that I am here to share it with you.
Abiding is simply continuing to choose Jesus!
Okay. I hear ya. What about Paul and his striving for the mark? I thought of that too. What if?
Philippians 3: 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. source
What if that mark, that goal, that pressing on; that lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me IS ABIDING IN CHRIST?
What if what Paul is saying is I have not attained the place of perfectly choosing Jesus each time but that is my goal to choose Him, to choose His Way with every choice I make? To keep on keeping on choosing Jesus every day, moment by moment if need be, especially when all kinds of junk is going on around me; and on those days I mess up, I put those things behind me and I start again fresh — choosing Jesus?
Could this be what it means to abide in Christ? Simply continuing to choose Jesus!
And then another question arises. How do I know I am choosing Jesus?
2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV) 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: source
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. source
So there is some doing in our abiding – but if the choosing Jesus is first the abiding yoke is easy and the burden is light.
I am satisfied with this! 🙂
Salt and Light,