Over the past several weeks, I’ve written about the three God-placed needs within us. We have a need for love and acceptance, a need for identity or worth, and a need to impact the world around us.
All three God-placed needs are closely related and must be met in order for us to experience any level of shalom.
Our basic problem is that we have sought to meet those needs outside of Christ. In doing so, we’ve failed to achieve deep and lasting shalom.
We fail to achieve deep and lasting shalom because we have failed to learn the art of abiding in Him.
Jesus uses the word picture of the branches of a vine to describe what that abiding should look like. The branch must stay attached to the vine to draw all its sustenance from the vine. The same is true for us spiritually. When we become separated from the main vine…Jesus…we wither spiritually and are unable to produce any lasting spiritual fruit.
For us to experience shalom and lead a fruitful spiritual life, we must learn to abide with Jesus. This means to learn to abide with Him not only on a day-to-day basis, but also throughout the day.
We need to learn to increase our awareness of His presence with us during the day, and then to gradually draw from that presence.
Paul calls it unceasing prayer in 1 Thess. 5:17.
The saints have been writing about this since the coming of Christ. Some well-known examples are Brother Lawrence’s Practicing the Presence of God and more recently, Thomas Kelly’s Testament of Devotion.
Like so many other things in the Christian walk, learning to abide in Christ is a process. It occurs over time, but more importantly, it occurs through small steps…small decisions we make throughout the day. Each small decision we make will either bring us closer to abiding in Christ, or take us further away from the vine.
Take some time this weekend to think through what decisions you need to make that will draw you closer to the vine and allow you to abide in Him.
Prayer: Lord, show me how to better abide in You.