Trying vs Abiding

Last week while on Christmas break I got a little sideways with one of my boys. He was mad at me for making him turn off a video game he had been playing most of the day. I knew it was the right decision, but I just hated the cold shoulder I was getting from him so I decided to win him back over. I told him I needed him to walk down to a creek with me. So we took off together through the woods and down to the creek.

When we got there he asked me, “Dad, why did you need me to come with you? You totally could have walked down here by yourself.”

“Sure I could, but why would I walk alone when I can walk with you?” I responded.

As we headed back for the cabin we had taken about 20 or so steps when I felt his little hand reach up and take my hand. All the way back we just held hands and never spoke a word to each other.

When we got back I sat down with Brandi and said, “I just had the best walk with Gage.” She asked what we talked about and I responded, “Nothing, but my heart is so full right now.”

It’s not really about the walk is it? It’s about “being with.”

The God of the Bible is a God who wants to “be with” you. You were made to walk with God. You were made for a “with God” life.

One day Jesus made a staggering claim.

In John 15 he says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

I am the vine; you are the branch.

Now you’re going to bear fruit. You’re going to do wonderful things in your life, but your job is not to try to do wonderful things; your job is to abide in the vine, which is Jesus, from one moment to the next. “If you don’t do that,” Jesus says, “nothing much will come out of your life.”

There’s just one thing a branch is supposed to do. Did you catch the word? It’s “Remain.” I love the older translation of this word. It’s abide. We could say “Be With.”

As we prepare to surrender everything that we are so God can use every part of our lives, I think it’s important to remember: God wants to walk with us before he works through us.

God says in Micah 6:8 that what he desires for us is “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

He wants us to walk with Him.

He wants us to “be with” Him.

When I evaluate my life there’s way too much “me trying” and not enough “me abiding.”

10 Responses to “Trying vs Abiding”

  1. This is OH so true! I just wrote about “doing” verses “being” as well….. because it’s something I’ve been struggling with my whole life. I’ve always been more “Martha” than “Mary”, but I’m working on that! Now I wanna listen. And learn. And just “abide”. Thanks Pete!! Good words!!

  2. christopher says:

    cleared me, thank you. i was kinda fidgety before reading

  3. Tessa says:

    What a great illustration Pete…my eyes got a little misty when I read it!

  4. Jason Vana says:

    I love the imagery of just walking with God and holding his hand. It really is meant to be that simple.

  5. Jamie Willow says:

    love that our kids teach us about the heart of God, that story made me cry. glad you won your son back over, such an important relationship and moment.

  6. Andrea-Elena says:

    I was stumped about this blog post’s title until I had a eureka! moment. OH! You meant “Trying vs. Abiding,” Pete. The word versus, not verses (or verse). Would you like a copy editor? ;-)

    Anyway, wow… this blog post is so timely. I’m working on “flipping the script” of all those “singleness sermons” I give myself (and sometimes others) — yep, there’s goes that whole “trying” and not “abiding” thing. But yes, walking with Him before He gives me further marching orders sums up what I’m sensing He’s wanting me to “grok.” Not that He hasn’t tried to communicate this before. Just that for whatever reason, other factors and “life enzymes” are aligning to create the catalysis that hadn’t happened in this way in my life before. I’m excited! :D So… I’m gonna have to chew on your blog post content some more. Good fodder for pondering.

    Now… why am I hungry for an angus burger??

  7. David says:

    Wow, Pete – the “God wants to walk with us before he works through us” just leaped right off the page and hit me, in the best way possible. I’ve been struggling and almost trying to force my way with God in a chance to work at a homeless shelter that I currently volunteer at. Your words lit the path – I’m not walking with Him, I’m running way ahead. Thank you for the insight. I recognize now that I need to abide so that I CAN bear fruit in the lives of others later. It’s like the old adage – you have to walk before you can run.

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