Learning to abide in Jesus can seem like one more ball to juggle. It can feel like it’s going to take a lot of time from our days.
However, learning to abide is actually the opposite. When we lean into Jesus and accept his invitation to abide, we can clearly see the most important things in our day, and we have the strength to accomplish those tasks he gives us.
Learning to abide takes three simple steps…
Practice Prayer. When you want to begin learning to abide in Jesus, the best way is to ask him for help. Tell him you want to learn what abiding in him means and what it looks like in your life. Ask him for his help to abide in him continually.
Just recently I asked Jesus to show me an area I needed to work on in my life. Risky I know. Yikes! In the last 24 hours, I’ve heard about empathy in our relationships with our kids from three separate, completely unrelated sources! When you pray asking for wisdom, insight, and strength, Jesus loves to answer those types of prayers!
He might not answer instantly. Sometimes it’s taken weeks and months for him to answer prayers, but he will answer. If your desire is to learn how to abide in him and accept his invitation, he will be more than happy to put a neon “Open” sign on the front door to light your way.
Focus on Relationship. It’s not about rules, it’s about a relationship. Often we see the Bible as a list of rules to follow. We look at the do’s and don’ts and try to make sure we check off as many do’s as we can and avoid the don’ts. This mental list can make us feel good about ourselves and also cause us to look down on others who might not do the things we think are needed to be a “good Christian.” We might even live under the stress of doing something wrong or what will happen if we sin unintentionally.
Instead, living in a relationship by abiding in Jesus is so much more freeing. When we focus on building a relationship with him, we still might look the same on the outside. We might show up at church, serve our neighbor, love others well, and spend time in his word, but the heart is completely different. Our heart doesn’t serve, love, or show up out of obligation or fear, but out of gratitude to God for what he’s done for us.
If you’ve been living under the rules, read through Galatians or John. Both of these books focus on living in relationship with Jesus, and what this looks like.
Take Time. “But you just told me it wouldn’t take more time!?”
When learning to abide, we’ve got to take the time to actually do it. To spend time with Jesus and look to him for wisdom and strength. In John, Jesus makes seven “I am” statements. Three of them are, “I am the bread of life,” “I am the light of the world,” and “I am the vine” (John 6:35, 8:12, and 15:1).
If you’re hungry, do you eat twice a week or even once a day? Of course not! You’d eventually die that way. Instead, we eat several times a day.
If you need light, do you switch on the light and turn it right back off? Nope. You leave it on constantly, so you can see clearly.
If a branch is going to thrive, will it connect to the vine every now and then? That would be ridiculous! It would quickly die without being in constant contact with the vine.
The implied idea from all these “I am” statements is that we are in constant need of Jesus. Not just sometimes but all the time.
An easy way to begin is to connect your new habit of abiding in Jesus with another habit you already have in place. For example, I have coffee every morning for breakfast, so my quiet time is connected to my coffee. Or the boys and I drive to school or summer camp almost every day, so we put on a Keys for Kids podcast on the way.
Another favorite is doing the dishes. (Nope, not doing the dishes themselves. Yuck!) When I do the dishes, I ask whichever boy is my helper which song he wants to play. We take turns playing our favorites, and most of the time, we listen to a lot of Christian music while we clean up together.
The point is, you don’t need to spend an hour every morning. Instead, look for those opportunities throughout your day to accept Jesus’ invitation to abide. They really add up over time!
As we learn more about what it means to abide in Jesus this month, I’d love to know, what questions do you have? Where do you struggle as you’re learning to abide in Jesus?
Want some practical ideas to begin to abide in Jesus today? Join the Abide 5 Day Challenge! Click below to join.
Do you want to learn more about how to abide in Jesus daily? Click below to get my new book Abide: 40 Ways to Focus on Jesus Daily. In it you’ll find 40 ways to begin making Jesus a daily part of your life today! Click the image below to purchase your copy.