One can directly feel the effects of faithfully abiding in the Lord. The benefits seem to flow without interruption. This is, of course, bred by one’s fervent desire to draw closer to the Lord and a willingness to be led by Him. It’s like a good child who is a joy to her parents: the child feels loved and cherished by them while she is also obedient to them. She doesn’t follow them resentfully. On the contrary, she delights to love and honor them. I believe it is much the same way with our relationship with our heavenly Father.
Sometimes there are things that drive us away from our devotion to Him. Unanswered prayers, for instance. But our Savior is faithful to woo us back to Him. And when He does, we would know. We would feel it. And we would come to Him with our remorseful hearts and silent tears of our sincere humbling down before Him. And I believe that’s what He desires of us: our repentant hearts that are yearning for His love and embrace.
That is more or less the picture of my relationship with my compassionate Savior. Every now and then, He brings me to that place of knowing that there is nothing more wondrous and more fulfilling than a healthy relationship with Him. One can get first-hand favor, yes, direct from His hand. If you would ask me what makes me faithfully abide in the Lord as I do, it is both fear and love. It is my love for Him that reigns in “springtime”, when all I want to do is praise and worship Him with all I am and serve Him with all my heart and might. But it is my great fear of Him that stops me in succumbing to the lure of sin.
Sometimes we tend to love ourselves more than God. The pull of temptation to please ourselves becomes too strong that our love for Him fades into the background. And we do that which we ought not. Yes, as I ponder on these things now, I think our love for the Lord is sometimes put on the back burner while we chase our selfish desires. But our fear of Him should stop that. That kind of fear that originates from His being a holy and just God, and that there is a corresponding consequence to every choice we make.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Cor. 5:10)
By the Lord’s abundant grace, I have this constant fear of being separated from Him. I cannot imagine myself being cut off from Him, the very Source of my life. Yet, I know that sin can easily do that; when I choose a different path away from Him. But as long as I do not cease to cleave to Him, most especially during moments of weakness, He is faithful to hold me tight and never let me go.
And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. (John 10:28)
The Lord Jesus Christ has made me feel time and again, especially now, how truly nourishing and absolutely fulfilling it is to abide in Him. He supplies all I need to live abundantly: the breath of life, peace, love, joy, hope, and His faithful answers to my earnest prayers.
“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.” (John 15:5)
I dedicate this post to the sister in Christ that I am counselling. May the Lord make these written words speak to you powerfully.
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