Rich, real life, from the soul out, is found abiding in Jesus Christ. Abiding is being desperately dependent and restfully resident in Him. It is not up to our effort or willpower. The Christian life is resting in God, dependent upon Him. We aren’t called to bear the fruit, just to rest in the Vine. He is the Vine, we are the branches. The fruit will take care of itself. We abide deeply to achieve greatly and eternally. If we do not abide in Him, we will accomplish nothing.
God has moved us from being servants to enjoying friendship with Him. We are friends of God. We may know the Father’s business: abiding. If we abide, seeking first His kingdom in righteousness, then all the things we need will be added unto us.
Throughout this series, we have talked about all the encouraging, wonderful news of abiding in Christ. But in this last portion of the series, we will consider the downside of abiding. Jesus lays out struggles for us because struggles strengthen. God’s strength will come through us if we can rest in the Lord.
In discussing the relationship of the believer with the world, the passage of John 15 uses the word ‘hate’ seven times in ten verses to talk about the emphasis of persecution. If you really walk with Jesus Christ, there are tremendous upsides, but there is also a downside where people in the world say, “Your walk with God makes us uncomfortable.”
Jesus is Light that expels darkness. He reveals our sin. Jesus says, “If the world hates you, keep in mind it hated Me first.” In Greek, the word ‘hate’ means, “to continue on hating you,” or “has hated you and still hates you.” Jesus then adds, “The servant is never greater than the master.”
Light is expelling the darkness. So when those who are in darkness are around a true believer in Jesus Christ, they think, “I need to change; my life needs to be different.” The common reaction is to be upset with the messenger, instead of with the One who sent the message. Don’t take it personally; the world is upset with our Lord Jesus, not you. They are upset with the Holy Spirit, not you.
The downside of abiding: In a rich relationship with God, we are going to be met with struggles in our lives, but they will strengthen us.