May 16, 2017

Abiding in Christ, a Continual Story


Back in February we started talking about what it means to truly abide in Christ.  I shared how I wanted to know God intimately instead of know about God  (read here)  We explored many of the Names of God, talked about how idols can get in the way of our relationship with Christ,  and how we want our lives to make a difference in the world.  There were many other posts, intriguing comments, and interactions that made me think differently about the all-important topic of abiding in Christ.




One thing I realized was that abiding in Christ is a continual process.  It isn't something we can master in a day or even a year.  Abiding is a lifetime story.  Every single minute we must make the decision to either live for Christ or live for ourselves.

Thus, each post I write that touches on an area we struggle in, an aspect of the power of God, or anything else relating to having a heart like His will ultimately be about abiding - living every moment for Jesus Christ our Lord.

But over the next few weeks, I want to focus on a slightly different topic.  It's another area of life that we often struggle in... thus, it's also related to the journey of becoming more like Christ.  Yet before we move on I want to discuss what abiding is.  I also want to hear how you are building a personal, intimate relationship with Christ each and every day.

Here are some questions to get conversation started, but I want you to just share your heart.  Share what God has been showing you in this area.  And please comment on other reader's thoughts as well so we can share fellowship together. =)

How do you define "abiding in Christ"?  Do you believe it encompasses every aspect of life?

What is the hardest part of remaining focused on the eternal?  What distractions often arise that you need to fight with the Sword of the Spirit?  What "good" things do you need to replace with the "best" things?

Is it easier for you to make Godly decisions when they are big, life-changing decisions or small, every day decisions?  How can abiding in Christ influence the decisions we make?

Do you ever find yourself becoming burned out because you serve God too much instead of just focusing on Him and building a relationship?  Do you find yourself sometimes in a Saber (know of) relationship instead of a Conocer (know intimately) relationship with God?  What changes should we make?

Here's another side of the spectrum:   Because we want our lives to make a difference in the world how can we make that practical and start right now?  Today?  Does it help you to make goals, have accountability, etc.?

Let's share together before we move on to another subject.  =)  How are YOU striving to abide in Christ?

20 comments:

  1. How do I define abiding in Christ? Living in Him, being so close to Him that every aspect of your life breathes His breath. I think it encompasses every aspect of life! If it didn't, where do you draw the line? The Bible talks about whether we eat, drink or whatever we do, we are to do it all for the glory of God.
    And that is what I am seeking to live out in my own life.
    Keep shining for Jesus, Haosanna! Bless you <3

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    1. Yes, Bonnie! Your definition of abiding in Christ is lovely. That is exactly what I've learned over the past few months. Being a Christian isn't saying a prayer, reading the Bible, or attending church once a week. Being a Christian is having an intimate relationship with Christ in every day, moment, and decision! I love what you said, "being so close to Him that every aspect of your life breathes His breath." That is what I want my life to look like. I fail miserably at times, but I trust that each day we are growing just a little bit closer to His heart. And I look forward to the day when we will see clearly and behold His face. ♥ "What a day that will be..."

      And the same to you! Keep shining for Jesus, my friend.

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    2. I don't mean to "steal" anyone else's answer, lol, but I absolutely love Bonnie's answer- it's exactly what I desire in my relationship with Jesus! Although I am no where near being that close and faithful in abiding in Christ yet, I know that every day is a chance to draw a little closer to Him, and I know that "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). I know He's at work, becuase He's given me a desire to become closer to Him- to abide fully in Him and be set apart fully for Him. Thank you again for a beautiful reminder at just the right time, Hosanna! <3

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    3. Emily, that verse from Philippians has encouraged me so much over the last few months. It's easy to feel discouraged...why don't we have the perfect relationship with God that we truly desire? But it's a process. As you said, "every day is a chance to draw a little closer to Him"! ♥ We might not be able to change our problems, our struggles, and our bad habits all in one day...but we can live for Christ TODAY, one day at a time! Our life is made up of those little days, and each one is more important than we usually realize.

      I also like what you said - how you know that He's at work. My mom has been explaining to my little siblings how you can know you are really saved. It isn't saying a prayer...it's seeing Him act in your life and longing for more of Him! Abiding...so hard but so worth it. ♥ Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Emily. =)

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  2. HEYYYYY GIRL IT'S BEEN A WHILE. How've you been??
    Distractions? Oh my gracious, I feel like I am allllways saying school. But seriously, I feel like God wants me to take summer break this year. And so I need to finish all my school (well except science and math cuz Mom wants us to do those throughout the summer) BY NEXT WEEK. *whispers* But let's just try to ignore that, shall we??
    And abiding in Christ DEFINITELY encompasses every facet of life!! It's verrrrry hard though, because that means we need to abide in Christ even when our mind is so full we can't even think and when there are little annoyances that keep building and building and building and when your schedule keeps filling and filling and filling... *deep breath* It can be really hard. But we aren't doing it through our own strength and that is something we need to remember!
    I think the most important thing I need to be doing right now with regards to abiding in Christ is making sure I have HIS priorities. I need to prioritize Him AND school--at the same time. Not like it's gonna be easy BUT WE ARE NOT ALONE. <333
    I always love a good discussion post! <3
    -Ariel

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    1. Ariel! I'm so tickled to hear from you again...I'm doing wonderful! =) How are you? And your family?

      Oh yes, it's so hard. School should be a priority... but we can take it too far! If anything (including school) comes between our relationship with Christ we need to discard it or maybe knock it down to a place of less importance. I understand. *sigh* But yay! Being done by next week sounds awesome! =)

      Life sure is full of distractions, isn't it? Abiding seems so impossible at times. I need to do this...and this...and that. Time just flies away! But as Emily was saying earlier, we can use every single day to come just a little bit closer to Christ. If we do that each day, slowly but surely we will be building a habit that can change our lives. Abiding throughout the mundane and the distractions is hard... but we're never alone. ♥

      Exactly. Make sure that HIS priorities are top on our to-do list! So important.

      Finish up that school strong, Ariel!! And keep living for His glory. ♥

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    2. I'm doing great, thanks for asking! Our family's pretty good, but Savannah's got a mild cold, so prayers for her would be appreciated! And other than being tired sometimes, Mom has been doing pretty good too--and so has the baby. <333
      Oh gee, I just wanna be able to be done by the first day of June AT THE LATEST. I'm starting a project that I talked about on my blog called 'Project Love' and so hopefully letting God lead me in that direction will take up a good part of my summer, instead of school.
      Will do!! <333
      -Ariel

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    3. *gasps* OH MY GRACIOUS I LOVE YOUR NEW PROFILE PICTURE. You're so pretty!! =)
      -Ariel

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    4. OK I JUST READ YOUR NEW TAB THAT IS CALLED 'The Story.'
      ...
      ...
      ...
      *clutches heart* *sobs forever* *dies* GIRRRRRLLL. All I've gotta say is that you are amazing and I am so glad that I have the privilege of knowing such an amazing human being. <333 THANK YOU for sharing this amazing message with everyone who is going to stumble upon your blog!!
      -Ariel

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    5. I'm glad you're doing well, Ariel, and I hope Savannah is feeling better by now. =) Oooh...Project Love! It sounds awesome!!! Can you explain a little bit about it? =)

      Oh dear...thank you, Ariel. xD I'm so, so, so thankful when God gives me a bit of inspiration... that story has been growing in my heart for the last month or so. ♥ ♥ I know that being able to love writing is a gift from Him. Seriously, I didn't even like writing a few years ago... but He saw something in me and planted a seed. I'm so glad that you enjoyed the story because it's something very close to my heart. ♥ I hope it impacts other viewers who "stumble" across my blog. =)

      And Ariel, what you said below under Jessica's comment... I appreciate that SO MUCH more than you can imagine. I was having a little bit of discouragement yesterday, and you made me smile. Thank you so, so much. I love you, and I'm thankful to have you as a friend. ♥ ♥

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    6. Savannah is feeling a lot better, so I'm definitely thankful for that! *thumbs up* Oooh, about Project Love...it is a summer projecty sort of thing that I am doing on my blog, and basically, it is where anyone who wants to join (and myself ;)) make it a major goal during the summer to love waywayway more than we normally do and to spread the Gospel at the same time! We are going to write down our goals for the week about how we want to love, and keep each other accountable, pray for each other, and I'm gonna be having guest posts about love and related things on my blog. IT'S GONNA BE FUNNN!!!! It starts June 1st WHICH IS LIKE ABOUT A WEEK AWAY. So exciting!!
      You are most welcome--again, than YOU for writing that story!! <333
      *huggles* Love you too, friend!! And anytime you need encouragement and prayers...I'm here. <333
      -Ariel

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    7. Ariel, that is SO exciting!!! Project Love sounds perfect...I have been realizing how vital love is and how it is often lacking in our lives... you have a great idea!!! I'll be excited to hear how it goes! Please keep me updated. =) (or perhaps you could add me to your blog...? I know it's private though, so if not that's okay.) =)

      And the same to you! *huggles back* Please let me know any time you need prayer or encouragement. ♥♥

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  3. Heyyy *waves*
    Whenever there is a certain word that I'm trying to dig deeper into I always look up the definition...
    Abiding means.. "continuing without change; enduring; steadfast:" (according to dictionary.com anyway)
    Enduring in Christ, remaining steadfast in Christ, continuing on in Him, not turning away (which is very hard to do).
    Living life with Him. Sometimes (more like all the time) it's easy to just live out Christ at church or with your Christian friends... but life is meant to be LIVED with Him... enduring, being steadfast, continuing on.
    In Acts then the early church not only lived life with each other, they lived life with Christ... praying to Him (which is just talking to Him so why is it so hard?...), spending time in His Word, talking about Him.
    We are to ABIDE in Christ. To ENDURE in Christ. To CONTINUE ON in Christ. To REMAIN in Christ. To be STEADFAST in Christ.

    Well, those are my thoughts (and my rambling, sorry about that).

    Challenging questions Hosanna... keep asking questions like that... a lot of the time we just aren't bold or courageous, but if we aren't who will be?
    Keep living for Him, day by day

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    1. Exactly, Sarah! That's such a good definition. Abide, endure, continue, remain, be steadfast in Christ! It reminds me of several verses in Philippians 3:

      "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...I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (verses 12, 14)

      We press on for the prize - true abiding. As you said, it's easy to live out Christianity during our quiet times and at Church...but do we live it out in our homes? (what would our siblings say?!) Christianity shouldn't be a label...it should be a lifestyle.

      Your input made me think...I fall so short of this calling, but we shall press on for the prize!

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  4. Well, I'm curious to see what other topic you'll be focusing on. :) But you're right, everything in the Christian life relates back to abiding in Christ.

    I think John 15:5 defines abiding well - it's about us being in Him, and Him being in us - so closely linked that His life is our life and when others see us, they see Him. (Wow, just typing that; it's so incredible to think about what God offers to us!)

    I guess how I'm striving to abide in Christ right now, is to take Him with me throughout the day in my thoughts and conversations, rather than limit those thoughts and silent prayers to my devotion times, or worship services. (Does that make sense?) Recently, there have been several deep spiritual questions I've been constantly thinking about, and it's such a blessing to have those thoughts in my mind, and be thinking of Bible verses, and asking God to teach me..

    So there are a few of my thoughts - you asked so many good questions in this post though! Sorry if my comment is incoherent; I'm a bit sleep deprived at present. :( But thanks for allowing your journey of abiding in Christ to come through in your blog. I really appreciate all your posts. :)

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    1. I love John 15:5 and the verses surrounding it. But it's like a slap in the face to think that WE are HIS ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20)... when people see us, they should see Him. Ouch. I'm afraid that's not always true for me because it's so easy to let our flesh overcome our commitment to abide in Christ.

      That makes sense, Jessica, because that's exactly where I am. As Sarah mentioned, it's easy to focus on Christ when we're at Church, reading our Bible, etc. But are we living with Christ every moment of the day? "Taking Him with us" is a good way to describe it...thinking, praying, focusing throughout the day. It's a struggle, but what fruit we'll find when we strive to remain in Him! Thank you for the encouragement. =)

      I'm thankful that my blog has been encouraging... I fail majorly in this area, but it has been wonderful to see things in a new way and get motivation in this area. I'm still hoping to read The True Vine when I get the chance. =)

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    2. Those are some great insights, Jessica! Abiding so deeply in Him that people don't see us, but HIM instead... (btw, *I* don't think this comment sounded like it was written by a sleep-deprived gal--you're so well-worded! <3) And I think it's a great idea to 'take Jesus with us'. After all, if He wants to be our best friend, but we're just pushing Him to the wayside, then something definitely needs to be changed. But I think you ladies are doing a great job of keeping Jesus in the forefront of your minds and hearts!
      Hosanna, you said you are thankful that your blog is encouraging...but it's not only the blog itself that makes this place so special--it's YOU. You always care about the individual and about what's going on in our lives, physically and spiritually. You're an amazing human being, and I am very blessed to 'know' you, even though it's only virtually. <3
      -Ariel

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  5. I thought of the John 15 passage too, Jessica, particularly about how a branch can't remain in the vine sometimes and not other times. It can't remain in the vine for some aspects of its existence but not for others. It's either all the time in or all the time not, but either way, it is what it is 100%.

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    1. Yes, that's a very good point, Jordy! I hadn't stopped to think about that specifically before. That definitely answers the 'Does abiding encompass every aspect of life?' question!

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    2. Jordy, that's a great explanation and expansion of the John 15 analogy! That definitely answered my question - so thank you. =)

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