I don’t know if you have ever spent any time in the mountains but there is a refreshing scent that comes right after the storms pass through. In the summer it is one of the best times to be outside as the frogs croak louder, the birds sing in harmony and the squirrels run playfully around. It’s as if all of creation embraces these moments of freshness. I don’t know how you may feel but I crave these times of refreshing after the storms of life come through.
This week has definitely been a heavy rain season with little rest but amid the chaos one thing has been resonating. We should be thankful for the rain because as great as the refreshing is, it is the rain that forces us to our strong tower. The strong tower is that person or thing that we hide in and find comfort in when we are vulnerable. My strong tower is my Lord Jesus Christ because He has promised in Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe” so as the Psalmist declared, “For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy, (Psalm 61:3).“ Much like the squirrels who hide away when the rain comes we are to hide in Christ when the storms of life rage on around us. Biblically, we have already been placed/raised in Christ as part of our redemption, (Ephesians 2:6) but it is our choice if we live out of that reality.
Truthfully, I’ve done a better job at running from rather than embracing this truth but I write this post in hope that you can learn from my mistake. When the storms come in the past I used to stay and try to fight it as long as I can until it breaks me; call it pride or stupidity or a combo of both. However, the more the storms of life have come recently the more I am learning to run to and rest in Him in a fresh new way. For there is none but God who can speak a word to calm the storms of our life (Matthew 8:23-27)…and that is why Jesus is the only One called the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)! Now do I have this revelation down pat? NO! It is an area I am growing in for sure and I encourage you to make it your default when the storms move in you hide yourself in Christ and let Him be your peace.
It is in His Presence, in His peace that I am truly replenished and strengthened to carry out the work He has set before me to do. In making the habit and learning to abide in the the strong tower that is Christ I then truly capture those moments of refreshing in my life. When I am refreshed I can then be refreshing to those around me. This may be a challenge but who is with me? Who will be intentional with me? Let’s do more than just think or say we will, lets say it and then follow through! Leave your thoughts/comments below and remember:
Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
In the last post I shared a question that has been stirring in me: “…are you willing to pay the price to live a life that abides [in Christ]?” Before we can honestly answer that question for ourselves we must first look at what the word abide means. Forgive me but you are about to read the beginnings of how my mind works in studying something but I promise it’s not as bad as it seems…I hope.
Abide means: ”to remain, abide a) in reference to place: to sojourn, tarry, not to depart, to continue to be present, to be held, kept, continually b) in reference to time: to continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure, c) in reference to state or condition: to remain as one, not to become another or different, to wait for, await one.“
Simply put it means “to remain” that right there will speak volumes in reference to Christ. Upon accepting Christ we are placed in Him (see Ephesians 2) but to abide in Him is a choice we all must choose. Though He may never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrew 13:5) it is entirely up to us if we choose to stay and abide in Him…if we choose not too then Jesus makes it clear the result of that choice. In John 15:6 Jesus says, “ If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.“
Now that we see what it means let’s tackle the first question that arises…what does this life of abiding in Christ look like? A life that abides in Christ is one that is unshakable in faith regardless of circumstances; no matter what hell is going on around them a person abiding can rest in the fact that God is still God and He is working a plan for their own good (see Romans 8:28). It believes the Word of God (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17) over the opinion of one’s culture, friends and even family. A person abiding guards their heart (see Proverbs 4:23, Matthew 15:16-20) and watches what they listen hear and take part in and let their mind settle on (see Philippians 4:8-9, 2 Corinthians 10:5). A person abiding is firm in their identity and purpose (see 1 Peter 2:9, Ephesians 2, John 17, 2 Corinthians 5:20 etc).
If you haven’t begun to connect the dots this is a small taste of how we as Christians are called to live…we were made to abide in Christ (see John 17:3). There have been far better men to write and go in depth in this subject but my goal is to bring a foundational overview to get you thinking…so now that we know what abide means and a glimpse of what it looks like come back for the next post where we will discuss the price of abiding in Christ.
Have you ever been doing something so mundane without a specific thought in your head and then BAM out of nowhere you are reminded of someone or something from months or even years ago? Often when this happens it is the most odd and bizarre yet strangely important moment of the day. Today it happened on the way to work…I was reminded today, by the Holy Spirit, of a comment made by a pastor who was teaching in my 2nd year at DSOM. After nearly two years later, I remember a few of classes that have left an indelible mark on me and this comment came from one of those days:
“The price is not cheap, nor is it easy…but are you willing to pay the price to live a life that abides [in Christ]?”
When Jesus shared the allegory of the vine and the branches in John 15:1-8, He spoke on a myriad of levels and meaning in such grace as only He could do. Though I probably could write a book on these eight verses (and probably will someday Lord willing), I will resist and settle for a post or two on the subject. Returning to the question that prompted all of this thinking, what is the price that we have to pay to live this portion of Scripture out in our own lives?
Before we can honestly answer that question we need to find out what that means for us…a little more of what God is trying to say through it beyond the surface meaning…and how it applies to us. I encourage you to read this portion and pray about it and write down what you feel God is telling you; doing this will help you better hear His voice [John 10:25-30]. Be sure to come back for the next installment as we begin to answer these questions and more.