From "Problems, God's Presence, and Prayer" by Michael Wells, Abiding Life Ministries, Int'l Founder
"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."--John 15:4
Once problems put you in the funnel and pressures have pushed you into the narrow way, you are ready to move into God's presence. How do you do it?
God's presence is what makes abiding life work. It is not possible for you as a believer to do but something God must do. It is not dependent on you: if it were, all could be lost by you. The opening and closing of your heart's door is dependent on you through your decision either to walk in dependence and humility with the door open or to walk in pride, self-centeredness, and idolatry with the door shut.
A branch grafted into a vine can in no way hold on to the vine; grafting works because the vine rewards the branch's feeble effort to hang on by a force 1,000 times greater that pulls it in. Being grafted in is the job of the Gardener.
There is a deception that when you enter into abiding, you struggle to hold on because you like it so much. The minute you work for it, you lose it because it is not given by work but by an awareness of faith. The more you hold, the more it has the potential to slip out of your hand.
Abiding is the awareness of the position God put you in. It is not a feeling, not a great secret, not dependent on your strength or growth, and not a struggle to maintain position.
There are two objections we hear about abiding: One is that no one can do two things at once: work, run a business, or raise kids with the whole mind and serve God with a whole mind. This is the same deception that drove monks into seclusion. But we do not leave the job or the world to experience abiding. Abiding does not take place in the mind and is not a feeling, but rather an awareness, a yielding to the One Who keeps you when you cannot keep yourself. It is knowing in the deepest recesses of the heart that you are being kept. We all have work and responsibilities in abiding, but they spring forth from a relationship with Him. Abiding must take place first. We often hear it is our job to dig in manure and plant, and God will give growth, BUT in John 15 that is said to be God's job. He structured you so that all you need to do is put your focus completely on Him. When you are busy, simply recognize that you are in Him, you do abide. Abiding life takes place in the spirit; it is not dependent on outer things (the soul--Mind, Will, and Emotions--or body), so it cannot be interrupted by things that take place in the world, like needs, places to go, or activities.
The second objection to abiding that we hear is that all of us sin and have sin in our bodies, so how can anything sinful abide?" "I am such a mess, how can I ever abide?" It is because you sin that you are commanded to abide; sin and residue are not to keep you from abiding but to bring you into true abiding. Sin is no excuse. As you attempt to abide, you will fall short, but never be filled with despair, because it is God that put the blessing within your reach and God who will lead you to it. Just keep your eyes on Him and He will make it work, because you are dealing with something that has already happened, a reality.
ABIDING IS MOMENT BY MOMENT
In abiding, God's method of dealing with us is moment by moment, day by day. Like manna in the wilderness, what people had yesterday is wormy today. Jesus is true Manna, and what of Him we had yesterday we do not have today.
How are you going to get through this life that is ahead of you? Moment by moment . . . our concern is the moment. Why did God give the nighttime? Why not allow each long day to run into the next? It is because you would be exhausted if never given a chance for rest. You are frail, fragile, and easily overwhelmed, so you need only fragments of your life presented to you at one time. Trust Him to provide what is needed. Life is an incredibly fragile thing. It is easy to kill, inadvertently, a plant or canary brought into your home, even though it is your responsibility to care for it and keep it alive. God created you, you are incredibly fragile, and He must maintain you.
Imagine life as a book. You do not want to read ahead if you are in Chapter 5. What if, in Chapter 16 a child dies? But each page, moment, day, and year prepares you for what is ahead. He will bring you along to where you can handle Chapter 16 by the time you get there.
God is the God of the moment, and the enemy wants to steal this moment from you. He wants to take it away from you by reminding you of past failures or future worries. The abiding life is moment by moment; believe and receive that tomorrow belongs to God, Who only gives what is needed for the moment. You will receive nothing for tomorrow. Every breath you take is only for this moment. No one can take a single breath for next week, and yet you allow fear of tomorrow to steal enjoyment of today. Joy in the moment allows fear of tomorrow to be removed. Enjoy the Lord right now. Eternity begins now in this moment, and if you lose eternity in a moment, begin in the next.
HOW DO YOU START TO ABIDE?
"God, I yield to Your Life. I surrender. I open the door. I do not dwell on failures. I will live in the moment. I accept my position. I do abide."
As a believer I know you are not too feeble and weak to:
--Yield to God's life
--Open the door
--Let Him flow through your being
--Refuse to dwell on failure
--Never let worry of a full day enter in
--Accept your position that you do, in fact, abide.
Given how simple it is to abide and how God has done much to bring you through the funnel, through problems, and how you have had deceptions along the way that need to be recognized and rejected, and how abiding is merely receiving the work He has already done . . . when should you being to abide? NOW!
ABIDING IS GOD'S LIFE FLOWING THROUGH US
Before I knew what abiding was--how God wanted to keep all His commandments in me--I would read the Ten Commandments and Matthew 5, 6, and 7, wondering how to keep and do all that. Too often we're told, "Now that you have accepted Christ, here is what you need to do: this and that." We begin to try to keep the Law, but we fail and stumble. Once I entered into abiding and His Life within that is keeping the commands, the Ten Commandments could be read as promises. Commands bring burdens and death, but we have The Life dwelling in us that has already kept all the commands, and we can view the commands as promises of everything He will accomplish through us.
We have a command to live a deeper life in Him. Many think they are unable, sometimes because of too much comparison that goes on in Christianity. We compare ourselves with others' ministries and feel we are not suited for a relationship with Him. The fact is we are all called to a simple, deep relationship--a moment-by-moment turning to dependence on Him, a life of unending prayer, and living continually in the awareness of His presence. Even the weakest believer can have this abiding life.
We get problems and failures so that in our distress we will seek Him. We know that if a man is thirsty, he can go to Jesus for a drink. He can be found in all of our distress; He wants to fill our needs and have us in His presence continually. People think they cannot have a relationship with God because they are too weak, uneducated, or lacking in brainpower or willpower. But the weakest are the most suited. What is needed is a great heart for God, someone longing for and wanting Him.
There is nothing easier to attain than the presence and enjoyment of Jesus Christ.
Sunday, 10:15 a.m.
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