Happy New Year Riverside Family! I don’t know about you but I do not make New Year’s resolutions anymore. Over the years, I have not had the best experiences with New Year’s resolutions… I get really excited about a new eating plan, workout, etc. and by January 3rd I have already stopped working out and eating healthy! It’s been a crazy cycle so a few years ago I decided to put an end to the cycle. Now, I choose a word to focus on throughout the year. This year’s word is ABIDE. ABIDE means having a life-giving connection to Jesus, a union with Christ; remaining in the love of Christ and depending on Him for everything. The scripture that I have been studying for the past few weeks in relation to the word ABIDE is John 15, specifically John 15:1-17. In this passage of scripture we are reminded “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.” (John 15:5) Did you catch that-we can do NOTHING apart from the vine (Jesus).
From the vine, we get nourishment, hydration, provision, stability, sustenance, contentment, relationship, identity, hope, joy, peace, encouragement. Abiding in Jesus does not mean that we will live problem-less lives for Jesus himself in John 16:33 stated “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” However, when we abide in our vine (Jesus) as opposed to abiding in our achievements or the world’s recognition, we experience security in our identity as the daughter or son of the Creator of the world. Looking to the world for identity and purpose often leads us to anxiety, hurt, pain, competition, uncertainty, feeling “less than.” My question for all of us is, as Christian people, are we abiding in the love and hope and secure identity that a relationship with Jesus provides or are we looking to the world to define who we are based on our earthly achievements and how the world defines us?
What I am learning as my faith deepens and my understanding of the incredible sacrifice that Jesus made for me and for you, is that abiding in the vine leads to a more peaceful, fruitful and fulfilled life. I have many trials, daily so please don’t read my words as Jesus is the “magic man who will take away all of your problems.” That is the furthest thing from what I’m trying to share. But what I am asking is that you take some time today and think about your dependence on Jesus in EVERY aspect of your life. Are you going to the Bible daily for your “food”? And submerging yourself in the Word to understand the heart and the character of Jesus? These are some of my goals and where I am focusing my time and energy this year. I pray that by being intentional and abiding in the vine, Jesus, you find the peace and contentment that only He can offer. Wishing you many blessings in the New Year!