“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
It’s hard to believe, but my wife and I met 10 years ago – almost to the day! We’ve had some incredible moments on our journey together! Dating. The proposal and our wedding day. The honeymoon. Our pre-baby trip to Italy. Serving on mission trips and in ministry together. Having a baby. Then another.
These moments were great – totally worth celebrating. But great moments don’t make a great marriage. We’ve found that it’s more about what happens in between. Praying together. Dreaming together. Extending grace when we hurt one another. Intimacy is found in the in-between.
Isn’t the same true of our relationship with God? Great moments – the mountaintops – are good and God-given and worth celebrating! But real intimacy is found when it’s just you, the Word of God, and the Spirit of God. When He asks you to follow Him to something new; to do something (big or small) and you put your yes on the table. When you decide to live in such a way that if God doesn’t show up, it’ll mean failure. It’s in the in-between…that’s where a great relationship with God is cultivated.
Last week, our elders memorized John 15:5. As that verse has rolled around in my head, here’s what I’ve come to love about it: in one verse, we have an invitation and a promise.
An invitation to get close with Him – the word ABIDE carries the idea of moving in with someone!
Think back to when you and your spouse moved in together, or to that great roommate you had in college. How much time you spent together. How much fun you had together. How their qualities started showing up in you. That’s the kind of closeness God is after with us.
Then he makes us a promise…to be near to us. That’s been His desire from the beginning – walking with Adam and Eve in the garden. Living among His people in the tabernacle as they navigated the wilderness, and eventually the temple. Sending Jesus to dwell among us, as one of us, and ultimately, by giving us His Spirit so He is never more than a breath away! God has moved heaven and earth to make intimacy with us possible.
One other thing Jesus makes very clear: without Him – without abiding – we can do nothing of eternal consequence. And make no mistake: we are starting Spotswood West with eternity in mind. We want its impact to outlast us. We want whole families to meet Jesus and begin abiding in Him, and as families in Spotsy are changed, so is Spotsy itself.
As we look forward to our launch, let’s all take a little extra time to enjoy the abiding presence of Jesus, and be thankful for all He has done just to be near to us!
Blog post by Tyler Cooper, Student Pastor (8/9/2019)