In Him

Psalm 19: 11        Passion

For they warn us, his servants, and keep us from following the wicked way, giving a lifetime guarantee: great success to every obedient soul!

We all want great success, don’t we? In this, the eleventh verse, King David points out that all that he has written in the previous ten verses comes to a head here. In verse ten we learned that nothing brings the soul such sweetness as seeking God’s living words. Why? Because they warn us, keep us, bring us success with a lifetime guarantee. Do you see how this flows together?

God’s living words, understandably, have life in them. That life, which actually is Jesus (John 14: 6), has success and prosperity built in. Look at Jesus’ life. Do you remember how he recruited his team? He said, “Follow me.” And they did. How is that for charisma? That is success. He didn’t strive or fret. Success was built in and guaranteed for life.

I find that sometimes we balk at language such as “the wicked way.” Can I just say that we can reframe that as we read it to prevent our stumbling? The wicked way isn’t just about sinning and no one, including Yahweh, thinks you practice sinning. His words, His living words lead us in the “right” way. Remember verse nine from yesterday which said that every command from the Lord is right? So, His commands, His words lead us in the right way. Now follow this chain one step further – they lead us in righteousness. Okay, don’t stumble here either. Righteousness is not the same as holiness. We are talking about being in the right place with God, being in your right place. When you follow God’s words, instructions and commands, you end up in the right place. That is how simple righteousness is. You have heard me quote this scripture many times, “He made the One who knew no sin to become a sin offering on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God,” (2 Corinthians 5: 21 Tree of Life Version). This means that we have become the righteousness of God, right? That is what is says. It says something else too, though. We are the righteousness of God in him. In whom? In Jesus. Our righteousness is in Christ Jesus. So, if we are not in him, are we the righteousness of God? No. It is only in Jesus that we are righteous. Going one step further in the logic today. Who is Jesus but the Word? Therefore, we are right back to this verse from King David. God’s living Word keeps us righteous. We are in the right place when we are in Jesus. We are kept from the wicked way and preserved.

All it takes is an obedient soul. We must actively involve ourselves with the Living Word who is the Christ our saving grace. It is so simple a child can do it but incredibly complex in the mechanics of the miracle God has wrought for us in Jesus. Let’s keep it simple though. Seek the Lord. Seek the living words of God’s Living Word. He is the miracle of our guaranteed success. There is no striving, no stress, no worry. There is only Christ and him crucified. In Him you have all you need, all you desire. In Him – those are words to live by. Amen.

Abiding in the Vine

John 15: 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.

I referred to this verse yesterday but just reading it filled me with such revelation and joy that I want to share with you. There is so much in this little verse. I certainly cannot cover it all in one Word of the Day. Let’s just look at two aspects. First, have you thoroughly considered “he who abides in Me?” What does abide mean? I think we understand this to mean to “dwell in.” Another definition is to remain in one place or state. We talk about abiding in Jesus and his abiding in us but it is hard to really wrap your head around. This abiding Jesus is talking about bespeaks a continuity. It isn’t characterized by one minute in him and then next off in our own world apart from him. This abiding in him and he in us is a deep integration of two souls, who are of one mind and one purpose. It isn’t the flitty affair of new love. It is the entrenched devotion of life long lovers. He who abides in Jesus and in whom Jesus abides is enmeshed with Jesus. There is no retreat from him. Everywhere you go, there he is. Your thoughts, dreams, songs and conversation keep revolving back to him. He is literally, rather than figuratively, “in you” and you are not only “in him” but also into him. You are interested in his thoughts and his ways. He is part of you such that there is no longer a means by which to separate the two of you. I could go on and on but you get the idea.

Then I really like this bit about “apart from Me you can do nothing.” At first blush it sounds a bit rude and may affect my ego. The other side of the coin is so amazing though. If, I can do no thing apart from him but I have done something successfully then isn’t it true that I must have done that thing with him? Now, how exciting is that? You have worked with Jesus because you have been successful. The really exciting part is that now you know how to create more success. Do everything you wish to be successful in with him. Endeavor to be “in him” as you work, play, raise your children. Confer with him not daily, but rather moment by moment. What was that email you were about to send? Wait, what does the Holy Spirit have to say about it. Is there better sentence structure, additional thoughts, praise for the recipient? Maybe he wants you to copy someone else or perhaps not send it at all. What about that meeting this afternoon? What does that look like if you are in him and he in you? Perhaps you even think you will work an extra hour and you hear his voice gently leading you to spending that hour reading a novel.

Whatever plans you have today, I guarantee they will all go better if you will do them with him. Maybe we all need to ask the Father what “in him” means to Him. I am convinced that He can, and will, show us even deeper meaning. The one part that is very clear is that the branches cannot survive apart from the vine. I would have you note, however, that the vine does not produce the fruit but rather the branches. This is a partnership of the most intimate kind. There is no end to which we can immerse ourselves in him, or even to allow him to take up residence in us. I hope this verse, this picturesque speech from Jesus will continue to minister life to you.

Moving Day

John 16: 33

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.

This is more of that red letter text from the Bible. I always like reading the red text. It seems to me that in this verse Jesus is giving us the chance of either being in him or being in the world. He is saying that we can be in him and have peace or be in the world and suffer its tribulation.

Now it may take a little meditation for some of us to wrap our heads around this concept but once you start looking at the Bible you find that this idea is all over the New Testament. Jesus is drawing a line between the world and the kingdom. We are to abide in him (John 15: 4). We are no longer to abide in the world.

Jesus taught his disciples this very lesson. “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15: 19). But let’s look at more of Jesus’ words. These are from his conversation and prayer with the Father. “I manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou gavest Me out of the world; Thine they were and Thou gavest them to Me (John 17: 6). “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world (John 17: 16). So what is Jesus saying here? I think it is pretty clear that he believes we are not of the world. We were chosen out of and taken out of the world.

Paul really had a revelation of this truth too. If you run a search of the Pauline Epistles for the words, “In him” you will see how much this revelation had permeated Paul’s understanding. We are in Jesus rather than of the world and this is a pretty huge deal. Believe it or not this concept actually existed in the Old Testament as well. David frequently wrote about God being his hiding place and refuge. He wrote about being in the Father in a similar fashion as Paul’s writing about being in Christ. This is a major precept for living a true Christian life. We are to abide in Christ rather than living in the world.

In him, Jesus, is everything we need. Further, if we are in him and since he has overcome the world, then we abide in world overcoming victory. However, this is an elective life. Just saying a prayer of salvation does not correlate to living in Christ. This abiding in Christ is a choice we make and a choice we usually have to make daily. We are constantly given the choice of choosing the world’s thoughts, words, way of thinking and behavior patterns. To live in Christ is to be aware of the choices you make daily and to choose to live in him and to him rather than to just passively float down the river of the world. Move out of the world and into him. It is like moving into the Promised Land. In him is where there is peace and victory.