Being a Christian is not about arriving at a destination, but abiding in Christ. If you ask people what a Christian looks like, you will get many different answers. Some people will give you a list of dos and don’ts. If you comply with their list then you are, in their opinion, a Christian. Others will point to what church organization you are affiliated with. They will talk about the completion of classes or programs as the DNA of a Christian. Others will define a Christian as someone who does things for God. They are working toward salvation by outweighing the bad they have done with the good they are doing.
I want to challenge you not to fall into any of the definitions listed here. A biblical Christian is defined as one who is in an abiding relationship with Christ. Abide means to continue to remain connected, to make your home, to be in relationship. What you do for Jesus means nothing without abiding in Him. Abiding is about fellowship with Christ and getting to know Him.
Outside of abiding in Christ you will have an uncultivated soul overgrown with briers, thorns, and thistles. At the end of your life you will look back and realize you did a lot of things for God. You had good days and bad. You had victories and failures. You obeyed His word and sinned against Him. But all of this should be swallowed up in a loving relationship with Him. If you’re banking on anything else, then you will be greatly disappointed.
If you remained in Him then you will have produced fruit. You will have allowed Him to prune you so you could grow. You will have done something that mattered because it was centered on Christ. Anything you do outside of Him will not produce lasting fruit. He wants to change you into the image of God as He spends time with you. An abiding relationship with Christ encompasses everything you need to be planted, take root, grow, and produce fruit in God’s kingdom.
I learned a long time ago that I do not have the skills or charisma to help anybody long term. I can offer some seemingly wise thoughts and steps of action, but these are not going to produce lasting fruit. The best thing I can do to help people is push them to proximity with Christ. This and only this is the definition of a Christ follower. My ministry in life is to get people as close to Christ as I can and make them stay there until they have an abiding relationship with Him. I know I am fruitful when they are ready to take their abiding relationship and share it with someone else. There is no greater feeling in the world than seeing people experience Christ in this way.
1. Read John 15:1-16. Take time to reflect on the heavy yet simple truth that Christ gives us. What does abiding look like to you? Have you ever looked at your life as so dependent on someone else?
2. Ask God to teach you how to abide in Him. Ask Him to show you areas in your life that need to be cut off and others that can produce eternal fruit for His glory.