Thursday, May 14

Devotional: Hangin with Jesus

I had a really cool 1970s VW Squareback in college. My sun-yellow beach mobile had surf racks for my board and a lawnmower engine. The above picture is for illustration ONLY! My car was nowhere near as cool! I was a college student after all.

The Squareback was fun and mostly reliable. It got me to class and to work and to church and to Farmer’s Market on Thursday nights. I had my stuff inside and a good radio with a cassette player. I was all over it!

Sometimes the thing would die on me and I had to get out and PUSH it. When is the last time you had to push a car?

Cars are great when they work. Cars get us where we need to go and bring our stuff where we need it. However, they are little good when they have to be pushed!

The Christian life is like that. It is great when it works. It is a drag when you get out and try to push!

Read: John 15:1-11
1"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
2"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.
3"You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
4"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
5"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
6"If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
7"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
8"My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.
9"Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.
10"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.
11"These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may abide in you, and that your joy may be made full. (NASB)

Abide. The word appears 11 times in 8 verses. It must be important. The word abide (μένω menō) means to remain, to stay near, to remain in fellowship, to not depart, to stay longer. You might meno if you stay after small group for another hour to be with friends. You might meno if you stay an extra day on vacation (try that one on your boss or customers). You might meno if you meet with Jesus before you run out of the house.

You won’t meno with someone you do not trust. You probably won’t meno with someone you do not like. There is a relational factor to this.

Jesus says some very important things about abiding in Him (read with care):
*We can’t produce fruit without him (v.4)
*We will bear a lot of fruit with him (v.5)
*We will suffer loss and burning if we choose to not abide with Jesus (v.6). I bet no one told you that when they presented the gospel to you! Not much “counting the cost” in our gospel today.
*God will do super nature things THROUGH us when we hang out with him (v.7)
*We abide in the love of Jesus when we obey him (v.9, 10). To obey him is to love others sacrificially (v.17).
*We experience maximum joy with him (v.11)

Go Deeper: This section is for the diehards.
Meno appears in several different forms in John 15. All of them say something important.

*Meno Commands (v. 4, 9): Jesus orders his disciples to remain and abide in him.

*Meno Actions (v. 5, 10b): Reflects present and continuous action. We are to continually remain with Jesus.

*Meno Risks (v. 4b&c, 6, 7a&b, 11): These verses are in the mood of possibility. They may or may not happen based upon the actions we take. There is risk to this not happening but also possibility of fulfillment. These are “subjunctive” verbs. There is no English equivalent. Look at the verses above and see what is at risk. The whole Christian experience hangs in the balance on this one point! The risk of no fruit, eternity separated from God, missing the power of God working THROUGH us and missing fulfilling joy. All that is at risk in this little word, meno. Pretty staggering.

*Meno Future (v. 10a): We will abide in his love in heaven and forever. That is a great reward.

Just like pushing my VW Squareback, we cannot do the Christian life. Jesus is the engine. He is the driver. We are not to push we are to abide, hang out. Branches do not eeek out fruit by effort. The branch abides and stays close to the vine.

What do we do with this? How do we abide in Jesus? How do we remain, stay near, remain in fellowship, not depart and stay longer with Jesus? How do we abide in Him? Well, how do you do that in ANY relationship?

1. Spend time with him. We must be where he is. You might ask, “where is he?” He is in you. We read the bible and pray to communicate with him. It is not a box that we check it is a God we meet with.
2. Spend time with his people. He is in other believers. We spend time in fellowship with other believers to be near Jesus. This should be the goal of our meetings together. Maybe it is ok to talk sports and weather and maybe not. Paul said, “I DETERMINED to know nothing among you but Christ and him crucified.” How would that change our meetings together? That level of expectation would be life changing. We’d see Jesus more.
3. Do what he says. As we draw near him we must do what he calls us to do. If you are abiding in him you WILL hear him and know it is his voice. When you hear him do what he says.

DevoLink: Devotions to help you Link with God.