I’ve never been one to make big New Years resolutions. I know I’d forget about it and it would be more frustrating than helpful. However, I do like the idea of choosing a focus word for the next year. Something to keep coming back to, to prioritize, to be inspired by as the months go on.
I was reading John 15 last week and felt God put a focus word in my heart: Abide
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” John 15:4
Abide. I looked up its original meaning and found “to remain, to continue to be present, to last, to endure.” That is what Charlie and I want this year.
We want to continue to be present with Jesus. We want our life with Him to last beyond whatever this year holds for us. We want to endure past our current struggle.
I’m going to abide in Him this year by being more aware of making my home with Jesus. I want to be mindful of waking up each day with Him, talking to Him as often as if He lived in my home, going over my day with Him before I sleep. I’m going to abide by not losing hope if He has us wait longer. I’m going to abide by not turning down paths of worry and numbness, but remaining in His peace and continuing to be present in His hope.
He says in John that if I abide in Him, I will bear fruit. If His words abide in me, He will answer my prayers. If I keep His commandments, I will abide in His love.
That’s our focus this year. It won’t be easy at times. Last week, I had the feeling that we were gearing up for a long, hard journey in 2015. And that may be so (or not! We can’t even plan a month in advance at this point).
When Jesus spoke these words in John 15 to His disciples, it was after the Last Supper where He talked at length about leaving them. These 12 men had had such close contact with God and now the story was changing. When He left so unexpectedly, they would surely have doubts. They would wonder what His “good” plan was now. They would have to stand on their faith that He is real and He is still here.
Jesus knew this. That’s why the first words after this discussion instructed them to stay connected to Him. When things got scary, when doubt crept in, Jesus’ answer for them was to abide.
As I think about whatever comes next for us, I can easily get worried and lost in the unknown. How sweet that the Lord showed us exactly what to focus on: remaining actively present with Him.