I am realizing more and more that I am a very impatient person. I sometimes joke about it but it has caused some serious challenges in my life. And as I take steps on this journey, I see how impatience has hindered me because the challenge of abiding is remaining. Abiding in Christ means to remain, stay or endure. Abiding in Christ is remaining in Him. It’s staying in His presence long enough to experience and enjoy His company. It’s enduring and staying in Christ, no matter what is going on around me, good or bad.
So why allow my impatience to pull me away from the best place I could possibly be? From the person who loves me like no other? Why? I remember being at Elijah House, receiving life changing prayer ministry and experienced a major first in my life. As I prayed, I saw in my mind’s eye, Jesus with His hand outstretched to me. I could see myself as a young boy, wondering and hoping that Jesus would really love me in spite of my sinfulness and my ethnicity. I realized that I naively thought that Jesus only loved white boys and girls because those were the children I saw in the books about Jesus I read as a young boy. Crazy, right! But that’s what I thought and being of a different ethnicity, Jesus didn’t come for me. Again, I was young, okay. Well when I saw Jesus extend His hand to me and invite me to go with Him, I grabbed on tight and walked with Him. I remember being in a beautiful forest and walking along until we sat on a bench.
It was there, in the vision in my mind’s eye that I said words that bubbled up from the depths of my heart, “I’m home.” For the first time in the almost fifty years of life, I felt at home. I felt accepted and loved just for who I was and not what I did or didn’t do, not because I got good grades or not, not because of anything I had ever done. I was loved just for me. And I experienced an overwhelming sense of peace and belonging. It was so powerful!
Question. So why would I ever want to leave that place of being with Jesus? Why would I ever want to move from that sense of belonging and love? Why couldn’t I abide and remain in Him?
I don’t know the reason fully yet. I sense the Holy Spirit’s leading that I have dichotomized being with Jesus and being in the “real” world. Being with Jesus is for those special times when I go to Elijah House or in a special meeting or a special time that I have with God. I spend time with Jesus and then go back to the real world. And I forget that Jesus is there and is my source and help for everything I do in life. Every action. Every decision. Everything. Instead of remaining in Him, I leave and attempt to do life on my own. Even my ministry and what He has called me to do as a pastor. Instead of remaining in Him, I leave to go on my own and hope that He is pleased and proud of what I do…for Him. Instead of doing with Him.
I wonder if that is what Jesus was getting at in John 5:38-40.“You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent. “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” Maybe I don’t remain in Him and have His word remain in me because I don’t think that He really came for me. Maybe a part of me still has doubts that Jesus loves me just for me. And I search the Scriptures looking for the acceptance and belonging that only comes from Him. The Bible testifies and leads me to Jesus. In the end, it’s not what I do for Jesus or what I don’t do, it’s all about coming to Him, abiding in Him, remaining in Him, staying in Him, even enduring to remain, because that’s where life is. Abiding is more about a Person, not a bunch of doing.
Now the challenge for me is to take a step in and ask Jesus to help me to abide in Him. Because the challenge of abiding for a person who struggles with impatience, is remaining.
the journey continues…