Abide in Him
I've been sitting in the Gospels these last few months. The central theme that has been sticking out to me is the interactions between Jesus and His disciples that He was preparing them for a life where He would no longer be present, in the flesh. There was a new reality coming their way. They were about to encounter the Holy Spirit baptism.
"You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea & Samaria and to the ends of the Earth." Acts 1:8
He invested His time and found value in each man he chose. I am grateful that they wrote down His words for us to know Him better. The adventures that they went on with Him in the lead. The time Jesus walked on water and invited Peter to join Him, to teach us all the importance of keeping our eyes fixed on Him during the storms. The time they crossed the Sea of Galilee for the one man tormented by a legion of evil spirits and then told him to go and share what had happened in his life to his community (I'm going to look for this man in Heaven).
We can imagine what it must have been like to be one of these men—having a front-row seat to the miraculous life of Jesus. To be in the boat with Jesus in the storm, allowing your mind to entertain the fear of death at any moment, and then Jesus wakes up and says "Be Still," and all is still. At that moment, experiencing life with the creator and sustainer of life itself.
And here we are, over 2000 years later. Jesus gives us the same invitation as the original disciples,
" Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in Me.
"I and the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch as is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned, If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples."
John 15:4-8 (NKJV)
Jesus asks us to do something simple, but it can be so difficult. He is asking us to abide in Him. Reminding us that He is the source of our strength, He gives us wisdom, and He sustains and provides. I love how over time, as we grow in maturity in Him and the call of God on our lives that our desires begin to align with His because our greatest desires become to know Him more and to make Him known.
And just like the original disciples, who Jesus was able to use regardless of their imperfections, their character flaws, doubts, and fears, their humanness, He will use us too. We have to be available to Him and willing to surrender the things that get in the way of our relationship with Him.
What qualified the disciples wasn't seminary or years of ministry experience. They accepted the invitation and remained faithful. It is important to remember this when we begin to feel like we aren't qualified to do the work that God has called us to tend for His Kingdom. For many of us on the mission field, there is no manual, besides the Bible, for the work we do. Our hearts, minds, and eyes need to stay focused on Jesus and His leading. So much of the call of God on our lives is relational, and this is uncharted territory, just like it was for the original disciples.