"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing...If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you." - John 15:4, 5, 7
It was Pentecost Sunday, and I felt a tender touch of the Holy Spirit. Call it a tap on the shoulder. A whisper. He seemed to speak quietly to me, nudging me to avert a recurring danger. It's the danger of becoming so caught up in prayer warfare and faith's pursuits that I neglect simply "being with Jesus."
At the same time in which He calls His disciples His "friends," Jesus says to them, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you" (John 15). If you abide in Me... It's so simple. So clear.
First and foremost, Jesus wants us to experience, sustain and enjoy a personal, intimate walk with Him. It isn't that He's disinterested in the demands of our daily duty or the pressures of our private world. Far from it. He just knows that the fountainhead of life is with Him. He is the Source of everything: strength for your day, wisdom for your task, comfort for your soul, grace for your battle, provision for every need, understanding for each failure and assistance for all we encounter. Everything we need comes from Jesus.
So today I invite you to come before Him with an open heart and in childlike simplicity. Come with plain talk. Come with laughter or tears. Come, on your knees, alone, without fanfare, with all candor.
I write these things because I became so concerned in my prayers for "the work of ministry" that I began to feel something of His divine jealousy. He was saying to me, "I want you more than I want your work." My calendar was so full, the agenda so packed, the opportunities so many, the need so great ... that I began to feel crushed in spirit, the same way pressure wilts a flower.
So the Holy Spirit tapped me on the shoulder to slow my mind and redirect my gaze. Today, I am praying for you and with you. There are indeed great ministry opportunities before each one of us. These are days of opening doors, and yes, the needs have never been "needier." But before we move together on all that, we are wise if, alone and apart from one another, each one of us moves into intimate fellowship with Jesus.
He wants that for us. When you think about it, nothing of eternal value occurs in your life without it.