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’m standing on the sidewalk of a busy street with cars racing back and forth. I’m stuck in both fear and anger as my god son defiantly walks into the busy street. As I roar over the noise of the cars, “Come back over here right now!” using the best authoritarian-auntie voice I could, he stops, looks at me with this look that’s both innocent and mischievous, then turns and continues to walk to the other side of the road. Prayfully, he makes it to the other side without getting run over.
Frustrated, I run down the sidewalk and wait for the sea of moving cars to no longer be a barrier between us. I cross the street already contemplating in my mind how I’d take advantage of the spanking…I mean “discipline” privileges his parents allotted me. I pull him up close to me really quickly, grip his dark blue hoodie, kneel down until my eyes meet his, and begin to express my concern for his rebellious acts — using only my words. I forfeited my spanking privileges and decided that a strong talking-to, cased in loving words, were most appropriate for this four-year-old.
Seconds later, I wake up from this dream. I laid in bed recalling the intricate and vivid scenes of the night, and unsurprisingly, my Heavenly Father spoke to me about this particular dream involving my rebellious god son.
And the Lord said,
“Indeed, my dear child, this is you. Recently, you have been trying to avoid Me calling after you. You have attempted to hide in the busyness of your life and responsibilities thinking the noise would drown out My calling. You know full well that you are running away in disobedience, and yet fear propels you further away from My reach. My child, my eyes will always be fixed on you; ensuring your safety and care regardless of your stubbornness. I will be right there to snatch you up and bring you into my presence. I will meet you where you are. For you have been called specifically for My mission. I love you too much not to pursue you even as you run in the opposite direction of your purpose, place, and position. Will you stop running? Will you hide in my everlasting, relentless love? I will be waiting. Love, Your Heavenly Father.”
As I reflected on His words so graciously spoken over me, I became overwhelmed by His perfect heart that calls to me and speaks security and love over me. I will be the first to admit that I have run away from a few assignments the Lord’s placed in my path – or at least I have tried. For me, I typically ignore him and distract myself with work and busyness. Can anyone else relate? I often use the excuse that I am doing for God already. Why, how, or when will I be able to add in this “extra” assignment. Ha! Like He really NEEDS me to do anything. And yet, He calls me anyway.
God pursues us so fervently despite the fact that we may, and oftentimes do, disobey Him. He calls us to partner with Him – to be His hands and feet. Not because He needs us, but because He wants us. Because He knows what’s good for us. This is His character. He is father, and no matter how much we kick, scream, slam doors, pout, or pretend we don’t hear Him, He will always be there – prepared to shower us with forgiveness, courage, and reassurance. The Lord is ready and willing to always take us back. Are you done running?
Hebrews 3:18-19 says, “And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So, we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.”
It was very clear I had been a rebel and thankfully God would not allow it! I avoided His invitation to share my writing publicly for years. I hid in the lies that it wouldn’t be good enough and no one would want to hear anything I had to say. I convinced myself that any wisdom God wanted me to pour into others through a public platform was already being communicated to people by another committed Christian. Why repeat? What difference would it make coming from me? What could I add to the world that isn’t already being provided? These thoughts produced fear, doubt, and unbelief; so, I ignored God’s call to act. I was disobedient and I realized it was because I didn’t believe God would do what He said He could. I, unfortunately, made an agreement with unbelief.
What assignment, mission, or directive has God given you? Where have you allowed unbelief to settle in?
The seed of disobedience is unbelief and the fruit of disobedience is separation from our Father. When we fail to honor God with our compliance and submission, we create distance between ourselves and the trinity. We slowly lose sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s counsel, Jesus’s voice becomes more and more faint, and God’s presence is less and less tangible. We mustn’t allow ourselves to hide in the current responsibilities of our lives thinking, “Well, God. Aren’t I already doing enough?!” We mustn’t allow pride or fear to steal our belief in His power to complete the work He began in us.
Is that calling too big for you? Absolutely! Are you really ill-equipped for this new promotion? Perhaps! Will you make some of the same mistakes your mother did as a parent? Quite possibly! But how amazing and glorious is it that He doesn’t call the qualified but qualifies the called! He is doing the work. We are His vessels! Bless the Lord that we have a Father in Heaven who desires us to participate in His plans, and guess what? He’s going to do the work through you!
Will you just take the small step toward obedience as I did and trust Him? Be humbled that He not only desires to use you, but He will equip you each and every step of the way. All He calls you to do is walk. Take that first step. Sure, go kicking and screaming. You can go palms sweaty, knees weak, and arms heavy. Just go. Your Father is waiting.
My prayer for you is that He facilitates an opportunity to speak to you concerning your call to action. For me, He speaks to me through dreams. For you, it may be through a scripture, a mentor, a sermon, or conviction by the Holy Spirit. Listen for Him. Seek Him. Remove the distractions that keep you from being still long enough to know His voice. If you’re one of those children of God who tells Him “no” a lot, I pray He will give you a new heart and new spirit; removing the spirit of disobedience and giving you a heart that is responsive to His call. A heart that says yes even when you don’t see the whole puzzle. And personally, the best way I knew to accomplish such a task is to ABIDE. For I cannot bear fruit in and of myself unless I am connected to the True Vine…and neither can you.
Song: Nothing Without You by Jason Nelson
Scripture: John 15:4-54