Friday, July 27, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Abide

Abide in Me

A devotional by Gail Kittleson

The fifteenth chapter of John used to baffle me. What did “abide in Me” mean? If I could just figure that out, I’d be set. But the instructions seemed so contrary to my natural bents.

I read these verses in awe and puzzlement. How could I abide in One so holy, so mighty?

Let's read John 15:4-6 (KJV) together: "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."

Decades have passed, and I’ve realized how the short book of First John clarifies this concept of abiding. Basically, it’s about living in love, living in God, and allowing God to live in us.

Living in becomes a bit clearer as the years go by, too. It means a friendly relationship and camaraderie (mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together). Since my husband and I celebrated our fortieth wedding anniversary in May, we’ve both learned a lot about this concept.

Living in implies listening, asking, receiving giving, honoring, waiting for, considering the desires and wants of another. And waiting. Yes, waiting for the other to reveal their wishes, desires, and passions instead of trying to force events to happen.

Ah, waiting. Don’t we just love that? No wonder this idea felt so unnatural to me in my early twenties, when my driven nature, grounded in shame if I failed to perform, railed against allowing things to unfold in due time or embracing the moments as they appeared.

No, I had to plan, protect, research, and always be at the ready. I had no clue what “going with the flow” meant. In short, I was a control freak, although I never would have admitted to it. I thought I was just doing my best to obey, and being as loving as I could. I didn’t realize my rescuing and fixing efforts often robbed my loved ones of chances to explore their own emotions and learn from their mistakes.

Thankfully, time gives experience and tempers our natural instincts.

My Prayer:  “Oh Lord, You have shown us such infinite patience. Grant us grace to live in You and grow in trust.”

Author Bio:
When Gail Kittleson's not steeped in World War II research, drafting scenes, or deep in an edit of her 1940’s novels, she does a limited amount of editing for other authors. 

She also facilitates writing and creativity workshops, both in Iowa and Arizona, where she and her husband like to spend part of the winter in the amazing Ponderosa pine forest under the Mogollon Rim.

Favorites: spending time with grandchildren, walking, reading, meeting new people, and hearing from readers who fall in love with her characters.

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