It’s been four months since I’ve written anything, at least here in this space. I have been writing a lot in my personal journals, though, and thought I would share an encouraging word that has been stirring in my heart over these past few months.
In the day and age that we live in, there are so many opinions and “truths” that are circling around the internet. Since studying Journalism in college, I have always been one who makes it a point to “be in the know” about what is going on in our world and have always tried to make the time to hear different opinions. But, in this particular season, I started getting really overwhelmed by all the varying voices. Overwhelmed, I turned to the only place I knew where to turn to: God’s Word. That’s when God started speaking.
At our church, our young adults have been in a bible study series called Rooted. Before we started the study back when church went online, a friend of mine and I were praying about what we should be studying in this season and this word kept coming up: Rooted. God is giving us the grace of time to become more rooted in Him. If you and I want to hear the voice of God and find clarity and discover His perfect peace (which is promised to us in the Book of Isaiah), we must seek Him first. For the past few months, I have had a sign in my kitchen that reads, “Seek first the Kingdom. Matthew 6:33.” It’s one of the first things I read every morning. It’s a tangible reminder to me, especially because my human nature is to seek first my kingdom. Thank goodness for His daily grace that is offered to us.
In John 15: 4, 7, it states, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me…But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted.”
The dictionary definition for the word remain is this:
(v). continue to exist, especially after other similar or related people or things have ceased to exist ; to stay in the place one has been occupying
I think it is super important that we understand what this Scripture is saying here. To remain in Christ is to know Him. To know Him isn’t to get what we want, it’s to come to better understand who we are and what He has chosen+called us to do. As much as I want to be in the know, more than anything, I want to know God.
All of us, you and I, we can so easily make things about us. We read the Bible and we make it about us. We approach God in prayer and we give our list of what we need+want. We live in a very self-centered culture, and how easy it is for us to fall into this dangerous trap where we approach God, not to know Him, but instead, to approach Him so that we can have our needs satisfied.
In a book I’ve been reading, Meant for Good by Megan Fate Marshman, she writes, “If we seek what we can get from God, we may be left dissatisfied. If we seek God and develop trust, the byproducts are wonderful. He is who He says He is and does what He promises to do.”
So, back to the Scripture above. What is the secret to staying rooted in times of adversity? How do we stand strong when there is so much unknown about what’s ahead? How do we find clarity in the midst of all the noise? How do we know what is the right decision to make for our lives? We remain in Him. When we remain in Him through prayer, we come to know Him. When we know Him, our posture changes. When we remain in Him, we submit to His will+surrender ourselves to His plans, so that whatever we ask, will come to be.
Quoting Megan Fate Marshman again, she writes, “When you call on God, you’re not just recognizing God and asking for help or answers. You’re submitting to the One you’re speaking to, and therefore submitting your plans and your agenda to His. God has plans for you-but first, you have to lay down yours.”
To remain in Him is to surrender ourselves to His will. It’s a daily decision that we have to make- to seek first His kingdom. And, you know what else happens when we seek Him and remain in Him? We bear much fruit. John 15:5. That’s His promise. Remain in Him and you will bear fruit, fruit that will not only bless you and your home, but will bless the lives of those around you. The beautiful truth about God’s Word is that He has good plans for our lives, but we fail to believe this when life gets shaky, when difficult seasons come our way, when the reality of our circumstances begin to make it seem that God has given up on us. The truth is that if we put our trust in Him, we will begin to see from a new perspective, into the unseen.
When we begin to take matters into our own hands, we lose sight of what God is doing. Every single time. We wander in the desert for far longer than was ever intended. We try to make our own manna from yesterday’s leftovers when in fact God is whispering to us, “If you let go, what I have planned is far better than what you can see with the naked eye.” We have to let go of our own expectations and seek Him above all else, for when we do, we will discover the goodness of God. We can trust Him with our lives. But, it’s hard to trust someone if you don’t know them. So, more than ever, this is my prayer. That through prayer, fasting (may I suggest a break from media?), and surrounding ourselves in godly community, we would begin to see the work of the Holy Spirit in the church and in the streets and in all of our lives. When we remain in Him, the fruits of the Spirit will begin to pour out of our lives so that we can know how to respond to others in their time of need. When we remain in Him, He will give us the endurance and wisdom to run this race+know what to do next. James 1:3-5.
When we seek Him+remain in Him, we discover our purpose. We discover what God is calling you+I to in this very hour. We discover that this day is a gift+that it is not wasted, no matter how mundane and irrelevant it may all seem. When we seek His will above our own, we tap into gifts that we didn’t even know were ours. When we remain in Him, we step out in confidence and push fear aside knowing who our God is. This ought to get you excited. To everything, there is a season. Ecclesiastes 3. I have no idea what God’s plans are, but I do know that when we choose to seek Him+remain in Him, God will direct and order our steps. God isn’t hiding from us in this season. He is present and with us, always! We are the ones who have to choose Him in return+actively seek Him. This is where we get our strength, courage, and hope from.
“Ask and it will given to you; seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7
Remain in Him, friend.