Why Abide?

written by Chris Hartenstein
I mentioned in week one that abiding is more. I explained that ‘as my world was expanding, God asked me to spend more time with him. Rather than working harder, smarter, being more organized, more focused, and determined, etc. He simply asked me to be with him; To step into a deeper, more relational place where I can receive more of him and from him. It wasn’t the impact my heavenly Dad was after, but intimacy.  

Why? Why was that his answer? I think it's simple but really, really hard to accept and live out.

Simply put, it's about our relationship. His desire was to capture all of my heart. He desires indescribable intimacy with all of us! It wasn't about the impact I made in this world that mattered most to God. It’s not the marks I hit or the work I did for Him; even though that was my first focus. I figured I'd do more, work harder, drive harder. Which actually lessened my time with him. My time with him became a checkbox and intimacy faded. For HIM, it was about the level of connectedness to him, the depth of love for and from Him, and how that deep heart connectedness rippled through my life and domain. It was about more WITH him, on every level.  

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis says:

“God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about intimacy (my word). God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there.”

Why did I need more time with him? Because I needed to be filled. Without his filling, I will never have what he desired to give - life to the full. How I am filled is by abiding all the time, in all settings and places. Settling my heart, giving everything to him, being still, listening to him as well as sharing my heart, and following his lead. Learning his story, and understanding my role in that story. Just like in John 15, “a branch cannot live or flourish without the vine,” - I cannot truly live without my Dad. And the more of him that I have, the more I grow, mature, heal, and become the son and man I was created to be. The more my heart has “the fuel” it needs to “run” as it was intended. There is a fruit that is yielded from that abiding, but it's an outflow.  

Here we see again God’s focus on relationships. In John 10:10, it does not mention our impact or our effect on the world. It proclaims God's effect on us via Jesus. Our impact will flow from that.

Check out this verse:

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” -Acts‬ ‭4:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Because they spent time with Jesus, listening to him, following him, praying, and learning, becoming as intimate with him as they could; they made an unexpected impact. They did not learn better skills, work harder, or longer. They were simply WITH HIM! This was a truth I had to embrace. The impact I make is the life of God flowing through and out of me! TO be more like him, I must be with him. To know his heart and purposes I needed to intimately know him!

What I had to learn was that our heavenly Dad is after my heart first, everything else second. Always!! That's what a loving Dad does, he pursues our heart, freedom, and wholeness. He wants to be with us so that we are one with him. Even Jesus prayed for intimacy in John 16! What this truth does for my heart, the increased joy and peace is unexplainable. It is exactly what I was created for. It is exactly what I need.

SO as he entrusted me with more it was about us being together more, living together more, doing more WITH him.

Calibration:
What are your rhythms around abiding?
As your kingdom and domain have grown, how have you handled the demands or needs? Why? How has that worked?
Based on how you answered question #2 - Did you experience life to the full?
What could you do to do more WITH your Dad? Increasing your abiding and intimacy.

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