Abiding in the Life of JesusBrandon Werner - Executive Pastor | Together Church, Oklahoma City, OK
Let me ask you, “What does it mean for a disciple of Jesus to abide in Christ?”
(Go ahead and think about your answer. I’ll wait.)
I’ve met followers of Jesus who’ve had a hard time answering that question. Sometimes “abiding” seems mystical to Christians, and they have a hard time quantifying it.
One of the most tangible aspects of abiding in Christ is simply stated in Galatians 2:20…
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Here, Paul says the life of Christ is in us and should be lived through us (that is, through our flesh). Simply put, one primary way we abide in Jesus is by allowing His life to be lived through us.
What does Jesus’ life looked like when it is lived through me?
We know Jesus’ life is being lived through us when the priorities and practices that characterized His life also characterize ours.
There are many defining attributes in the life of Jesus. Right now, I want to invite you to consider three clear priorities and practices from the gospel writers that characterized the life of Jesus…
- Jesus was devoted to relationship with His heavenly Father.The pressures and demands on Jesus’ life were high. There were constant expectations on Him from the crowds, from the scribes and Pharisees, from His family, and from His own disciples. What characterized the life of Jesus amidst all those pressures and demands?Yet He frequently withdrew to the wilderness to pray.-Luke 5:16When the life of Jesus is being lived through you, it looks like making space to devote yourself to relationship with God. It looks like not allowing the pressures and demands in your life to keep you from time with Him. We abide in Christ by devoting ourselves to relationship with God.
- Jesus was devoted to relationship with a small group of disciples.Near the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, in Mark 3, Jesus goes up on a mountain and calls to Himself “those He desired.” There, Jesus selected twelve disciples “so that they might be with Him.” From this moment forward, Jesus’ entire ministry is defined by His relationship with those disciples.Jesus and His small group lived together, ate together, traveled together, prayed together, learned lessons together, faced challenges together, and grew together.When we are abiding in Christ, our life looks like His life. The life of Jesus in us looks like a deep devotion to a small group of disciples of Jesus.We abide in Christ when we devote ourselves to relationship with a small group of Jesus’ disciples.
- Jesus worked with a team to make Himself known.Mark’s description of Jesus’ small group of disciples doesn’t stop with just the time they spent together. Mark says that Jesus called twelve “so that they might be with Him” AND “that He might send them out to preach” (Mark 3:13-14).The English word “preach” is a Greek word that means “to make known.”
Jesus literally devoted Himself to a small group of disciples so that, through them, He might make Himself known to the world.
When we abide in Christ, it looks like working together with a team of disciples to make Jesus known. We all have different gifts, talents, resources, and passions that God wants us to use to make Jesus known. When we use them together, the life of Jesus shines through us. We abide in Jesus by working together to use what He has given us to make Him known.
We have a saying…
Discipleship is not just what we do, it is who we are.
Discipleship is who we are because the life of Jesus is in us. When we are abiding in His life, His priorities and practices shine through us.
Go back and look at these three priorities and practices that characterized the life of Jesus. How can you abide in the life of Jesus more?
Oklahoma City, OK