Abide.

As some of you know, I see a Christian counselor. The original intention behind starting counseling was because I found it hard to connect with people and have real and genuine relationships. I often found myself not sharing about what was going on in my life. I would often share the victory and rarely share the struggle. In my head and how I operate is, if you care you will ask. As I started speaking with my counselor, it started revealing a lot of hurt in my past. That my behavior is rooted in fear and defense mechanisms from previous relationships.

Today it was taken on step further, as I came to this realization that not only were my relationships in my child and adolescent life dictate how I acted in my relationship with those around me. But that my relationships in the real world are simply a reflection of my relationship with the Lord.

I have always struggled with being good enough in relationships. I want to be that dependable, honest, and loyal friend who is there whenever you need me to be. Always being available has taken over my relationship with Jesus. I often say yes to serving because that’s is what my relationships have been built on. This desire to be called a good and faithful servant has become this warped sense of worth based on works.

Recently I have been struggling with finding my passion. I feel like a lot of people around me have an idea of what they are fire for and how they want to serve the Lord. Here I am feeding into their callings and supporting them. Don’t get me wrong it is something I love. But there is this fear that I am missing out on my passion and getting lost in theirs. Saying yes to every serving opportunity for a wide area of reasons has caused me to question my purpose in the kingdom.

The Lord keeps bringing me back to John 15: 1-18.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you.  No longer do I call you servants,  for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”

Reading this section of scripture I couldn’t help but cry. Reading it opened my eyes to equating works with fruit. That somehow me serving was remaining in the father I was producing all this fruit and being a good and faithful servant. My counselor so graciously reminded me of the first step, abide. Which was followed up with the question of what is abiding. What came to my mind was this a Sunday at my parents’ house. My mom in the kitchen making dinner, my dad sitting at his computer, maybe one of my brothers sitting on the couch with me. It was a time of just being. Rarely was anything expected, we would just enjoy each other’s company. That is what the Lord wants of me. By abiding in his love and in who he is, I can bear fruit. The fruits of the Spirt aren’t birthed by works, they are simply because the Holy Spirt dwells with us.

This chunk of Scripture goes on to say that I am his friend and that he chose me. My works aren’t why I am chosen. It isn’t because I am a star pupil or an amazing person. But simply because he chose me. When I abide in the Lord I can to be who he created me to be.

Abide. That is enough, that’s why he died on the cross! That is why we preach the gospel, is so that others can abide. Works are amazing, but without Christ they are worthless.

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