by: Cris Corzine-McCloskey
Every known cranky Christian who acts like they were baptized in lemon juice? Not only have I met them, at times I’ve been one. We all have. We accept this as normal, but according to scripture, it’s abnormal. Jesus said the world would be able to spot His followers by our love, not our stress level. What is happening to us? I believe the answer is found in “abiding.”
Last week I unveiled the scripture in John where Jesus said if we abide in Him we will bear much fruit. I defined that fruit from the list in Galatians. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. We can think of this list as our “abiding detector,” because if this list isn’t manifesting in your life, no matter how busy you are with Jesus, you are not abiding in Jesus.
What does it mean to abide? The Bible Study Tools defines it as to “await, remain, lodge, dwell continue, endure.” We are to make our home in Jesus. Moreover, it says in John 15:9 that we are supposed to remain in is His love. So abiding means that we live in His love. The love of Christ is supposed to be our dwelling place.
Interesting fact, did you know there is only one place in the entire Bible where it instructs us on how to walk in the fullness of God? It is Ephesians 3:14-19. In brief, it says when we put down roots into the way God loves us in Christ Jesus, when we realize how wide, long, high and deep that love is, then we will be “filled with all the fullness of God.” If we are full of God we will be full of love, joy peace…you get the picture.
As humans, our default position is to be rooted and grounded in us. What we want, what scares us, what comforts us. We are tragically self-centered. And we bring that into our relationship with God. Think about how we talk about our faith, “I want to be used by God.” “My quiet time with the Lord.” “I found Jesus.” “I”m praying about my problem.” “I’ve found a scripture for my problem.”
None of these things are bad, per se, but when we take a step back and examine this as a lifestyle, you can see our focus is on us and whatever challenges we are facing. If we make things all about us, we will never be all about Jesus. No matter how religious or devoted we are. And as long as we are all about us, we will produce the fruit of fear, anxiety, stress, etc.
By now I hope you are convinced that you want to make His love your dwelling place. But being convinced and knowing how to get there are two different things. That is what we will cover next week. Until then pack your moving boxes, you are going to a new dwelling place. The only thing you can’t bring is your “self.”