Walking with Jesus: Abiding in Christ

Walking with Christ: Abiding in Christ

Walking with Jesus
Abiding in Christ

Paul J. Bucknell

 

How it all started!

This was not a planned series! The Lord caught me off guard. He broke into my routine life in order to draw me closer to Himself. 

First, the Lord got my commitment. He reminded me about my stated interest in growing as a Christian. He was not impressed with my past missionary or pastoral work. The Lord was intent on further shaping my heart. He spoke to me through Psalm 1 and Joshua 1 about the need for daily meditation.

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it;     for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. (Joshua 1:8).

Grape Leaf John 15 "I am the Vine"God designed meditation as a way for His people to grow and have success. Excuses about not having enough time did not go far. I had an extremely busy schedule and  was already getting up early to meet Him in the morning. He wanted more time. I knew what He wanted. 

After a struggle, I finally gave up my afternoon radio talk show so that I could listen to Him through His Word. The meditation time was not necessarily going to take much time each day (I didn’t have a lot of time), but it was to be a regular commitment. I made no vows, but like other good habits, I purposed to meet with Him when I could at a certain time. I never could have imagined what actually happened.

As I think about it, I am still astonished.  Even now, years after that time, I am deeply moved just by thinking about what He did.  Above all, I wanted to hear from the Lord in this short meditation time. I did. He came so close that I was utterly changed. The time rarely exceeded thirty minutes, but what He taught me regularly impacted my life. The truths were so clear, piercing and heart breaking that I almost needed to prepare myself before I met with Him. I wondered what would He say? Where would He lead me? My life might never be the same after that time with Him in His Word. And to be honest, my life never was quite the same.

I limited my study to Jesus and the Gospels. The Gospels were very familiar to me so approached them from a different perspective. After all, I have preached and taught most of the Gospel passages. This time, however, I would study passages where I could observe how Jesus trained His disciples. Instead of the typical study on how Jesus responded to different situations, I would examine what the disciples themselves saw and heard. Jesus was, after all, training His disciples.

The Gospels became a literal adventure land full of special paths of learning. I would sit at Jesus’ feet and vicariously through the disciples’ own eyes and ears learn what and how Jesus was training them. I wanted to be trained. This is what I desired. Could I learn from these situations? Oh, yes. I learned too much, if I can say that. I felt that I was overloaded with the truths that were impacting my lives. I was scared, almost, that what I would learn the next day would overload what I could handle.

I no more doubt whether God wants to speak to me or other Christians. He wants to speak loud and clear. The real question is whether we want Him to really speak to us. How desperate are we for Him to speak to us?

Each mediation session was unique, though the approach for this series was the same.  In the end each meeting with God ended with a powerful impact on my life. Sometimes the main point would immediately pop out. These lessons were easy to grab hold of.  At other times, however, the Lord would try me. I finally learned that no matter how long it took, I needed to keep reading the same passage until He spoke to me. The Lord was building up my faith so that I absolutely knew that He was able and desirous to speak to me through any passage in His Word. No matter how unlikely the passage was, God could and would speak to me. But I needed to persist. I was not to turn the page. I was not to wander off to another passage. I had to meditate upon the Word that He directed me to ponder upon, even if it was chosen somewhat at random. 

Once God arrested my attention with the truth of the passage, I inevitably needed to repent. Every passage became an opening of my spiritual eyes at my awful spiritual condition. I had been a Christian for many a year, but the teachings were so poignant that I often ended up with tears dripping down my face. I wonder what my children thought as they walked by me, seeing me so moved through a Bible reading. But indeed, it was much more than a Bible reading. I had met God, or should I say, God had met me in the deep unknown needs of my heart.

The encounters were so real it is as if the Spirit actually took me to that place where the disciples were watching Jesus or asking Him some question. He enabled me to see what Jesus was getting at. He so regularly and powerfully spoke to me during those times that it has made me all the more a firm believer in the importance for a Christian to grow every day of his or her life.  Like Paul the Apostle, we have not yet reached that point of perfection. We have much more room to grow than we have ever thought. 

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do:

forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13).

Each session focused on a new passage. I read and reflected on each passage until He spoke to me through His Word. Sometimes this would take longer than at other times, but I would stay there until at least one truth was unleashed into my soul. Many times I was tempted to give up and just be satisfied with a general reading of His Word.  Thankful to the Lord, I persevered in reading over the passage until He spoke. More often than not, I just needed to reflectively read it once or twice again before His truth would begin to powerfully shake my life. Each session ended with an application to my life. Usually, this was not too difficult. He was there teaching me. When I repented from my hardened heart, there was always some real practical truth to apply to my life. 

Many of these lessons are written here in this series, Walking with Jesus: Abiding in Christ. My hope is that you will learn how to hear God speak to you through His Word. They will be some of the most tremendous times you have in your life.

The Lord is still waiting to speak to you and me. He has already instructed us to meditate on His Word. Put the televisions, computers and movies aside. Sit down and challenge Him to speak to you through His Word. He is faithful. Just remember the key. Whatever He tells you to do, you must do it. It is this daring, but needed, heart approach, that makes each Bible meditation time a journey that we never know where it will end up.

The Abiding in Christ Experience

We want to live fulfilled Christian lives by walking with Jesus but often find ourselves frustrated in the process. Perhaps one reason for this is the difficulty of understanding Jesus' use of the word 'abide' in John 15. Jesus uses it so naturally, but the English translations of 'abiding', 'remaining' or 'living in' do not help us envision the essence of Jesus' words.

There is no life, no experience, no joy greater than that which comes from abiding in Christ!

My grape vines have thick trunks from which the longer vines go forth. The way these branches are attached (abide) to the trunk of the vine is used by Jesus to illustrate how His children are to live out full Christian lives. Abiding is symbolic of the attaching, connecting, branching, inter-working, and dependence upon which results in beautiful big and luscious fruit. Click on one of the topics below to find new meaning and practical daily illustrations on how to abide in Christ.

"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."– Jesus (John 15:5)

I thought it might be good for us to share together events that we have experienced on our journey with Jesus. And if you haven't yet joined in this most exciting journey, please do.

     We start by getting to know Jesus. He is resurrected from the dead and living.

     This encounter with Him will always bring us to the place of seeing how terrible our sin is. We grieve over this sin and do not wish for it to be anymore. We through Jesus ask and find forgiveness.

     We continue on the strategic path by obeying His commands.

     Once we are on that path, we need to stay on the path with Jesus. This is called ‘walking with Jesus’ or ‘abiding in Christ.’ It is a conscious awareness and dependence upon His presence wherever we go. Life becomes absolutely fascinating. Each day is a journey with Jesus. Each relationship, encounter and event becomes special.

Come and deepen your understanding of walking with Jesus. Read the following articles. Or even better, start meditating on His Word yourself. He is waiting to meet with you and take you on a wonderful journey. Although you might have to fight with tears, you would never have wanted not to meet with Him.

Come and deepen your understanding of walking with Jesus. Click one of the articles below. Also refer to "Abiding in Him" which is a study on John 15 and articulates the principles of communing with Christ from John 15. Next

 

Walking with Jesus: Abiding in Christ Series

Walking with Christ: Abiding in Christ

The Beginning
John 15:5

The marvelous way the Lord instigated this series.

Impossible Love
Mark 8:1-9

Jesus responded to their needs. The disciples responded to their resources.

Genuine Friendship
John 15:15-16

I don't want my Heavenly Father to treat me the way I treated my son!

A Vial of Love
Mark 14:1-9

Our relationship with God is to take priority over our works.

Following is Not Easy
Mark 10:46-52

I wanted Jesus to be with me, but I didn't really want to be with Him.

Listening Carefully
Mark 7:17-18

The Lord wants me to sit down and listen to Him.

A Faith that Counts

I was not sure how many prayers I have absolutely wasted.

Staying Focused
Matthew 15:21-28

Jesus found these planned retreats can be rudely interrupted.

Discovering Treasures
Mark 10:21-27

What were they amazed and later astonished at?

Worth it all!
Mark 10:28-31

His disciples would often if not always be required to make a sacrifice of one kind or another.

The Capsizing of Religion
Mark 3:1-6

Many churches just wouldn't want Jesus attend!

Family of Jesus
Mark 03.31-35

If you or I were part of this crowd, wouldn't we do the same thing as they?

Growing Confidence in Jesus
Mark 7:31-37

What Jesus I am following?

A Word on Christian Suffering
John 15:1-2

We didn't do anything wrong to deserve such pruning! John 15:1-2

Genuine Worship
Mark 12:28-34

Anything not built on this one command is best left in the periphery of life.

Dreams to Dust 911
Mark 13:1-3

Jesus felt compelled to take their dreams to the dust.

A Faith of Action
Mark 11:27-33

The world starts getting concerned when the church starts practicing its faith.

The Felling of Fame
Mark 2:1-2

Stopped in my tracks. Time to deal with my desire for fame.

Perspective on Worry
Luke 12:25-26

We are really surprised at Jesus' comments about our worry.

Overcome Fear of Man
Mark 11:27-39

Outnumbered. Outflanked. Out-educated. Compromise was begging Jesus to conform for acceptance.


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Rev. Paul J. Bucknell


Biblical Foundations for Freedom