By: Cris Corzine-McCloskey
I love the process of Christian therapy. I work with people to examine real-life problems and mental health struggles, and then analyze those things through the light of God’s word. I love it so much I have a therapist I talk to on a regular basis. I never walk away from those meetings unchanged.
At my last session, I was agonizing over my anxiety about some very real and very scary things I was facing. She all but ignored my problems and asked me instead if I was abiding in Jesus. I curtly replied that of course, I was abiding in Jesus! I prayed, read my Bible, had a daily quiet time, and from there began giving her my laundry list of Christian activities. To that, she replied, “If you are abiding in Jesus, where is your fruit?”
That hit me like thunder. It says in John 15 that if I am abiding in Jesus, I will be bearing fruit. What is that fruit? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Truth is, at that point the only fruit I was bearing was fear, worry, anxiety, chronic over-thinking, impatience, and fatalism. Since the Bible is my ultimate authority for truth I had to admit, according to my symptoms, I had not been abiding in Jesus. While I had been busy with Christian activities, what I was really abiding in was my problems. Can you relate?
While I can’t speak for the rest of the world, I know that in our little community we are a bunch of stressed out Christians. There is a church on every corner, willing to accommodate whatever brand of believing we have, but we are just as sick, broke and scared as our unbelieving neighbor. No wonder people don’t want what we have. Most of us are not abiding in Jesus, we are abiding in the world, it’s problems, our problems, politics, and all the rest of the junk out there. It shows in the way we act and think. I was no exception.
Jesus said that we shall know the truth, and the truth will set us free (John 8:32). But as my pastor, Jason Forby, always says, the truth will set you free, but first, it will probably make you mad, because you will have to admit that you were wrong. So here is your truth, I don’t care how much of your life that you are dedicating to Jesus, if you are easily offended, judgmental, impatient, stressed out, fearful, anxious, and angry, you are not abiding in Christ. You may be like me, mistaking your life of devotion for a life of abiding.
No worries though, because, as Jesus promised, the truth will set us free. Next week I am going to start diving into that truth and share with you what God has been teaching me about abiding in His Son. Consider it fresh truth for bad fruit. Until then, be bold and ask Jesus to prune you. All you have to lose is some bad apples.