Abiding in the Vine: Remain in the Truth

Abiding in the Vine: Series"Route recalculation" is something our GPS scolds often. Sometimes while driving, we miss a turn, or we ignore the directions for a while because my husband or I know a better route. Recently though, our GPS steered us off course altogether--for no good reason. Satellite disruption? I have no idea, but it definitely steered us off course.

Don't get me wrong, GPS is great! It gets us where we need to go and redirects us when we are lost. Though global positioning optimizes travel and predicts road conditions, it is not infallible. There are times one might hear "route recalculation" when it isn't warranted. Sometimes a good old map shows the lay of the land and how roads flow even better than Google.

Instant updates and real-time information rule our age, but that does not mean that what is old is no longer useful.

In John 15:10, Jesus says:

 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. John 15:10

In order to keep his commandments we must first learn and know what they are. The Bible is often considered archaic and outdated by those who don't believe it, but for the Christian it is the unwavering map, the guide that is leading the way home.

 By remaining in Christ and his word, we grow our love for him and gain victory in doing what he commands. But we must remain, abide, dwell in Jesus by soaking our lives with his word.

Here are several ways one can handle the word of God as a Christian. They are not of equal value.

1. The Untouched Reference Book

The Bible can be left on the shelf as a beautiful reference book waiting for "someday" or "if ever" situations. This method will keep one ignorant to the ways of God and tossed along by whatever sounds good and reasonable on any given day. If this is how you find yourself handling God's word, try opening up the Bible and finding what is in it. Read it with a prayerful heart and let it begin to anchor your thinking.

2. The 4 inch screen

The Bible can be also used like that 4 inch screen on a GPS...not seeing the bigger picture, relying solely on bits and pieces offered by others along the way...perhaps piecing together verses you once read or forming theology from a song on Christian radio.  All believers are in process if they have a living faith, and no one can plumb the depths of God's wisdom. Yet His Spirit guides us in humble learning.  And we are called to grow up in our faith. We do not need to be fat babies who are content to be fed but not to walk and feed ourselves.

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food Hebrews 5:12

3. The treasured guide

The Bible is most powerfully used as a treasured roadmap in the Christian life.  Here, we look to the Bereans' example in Acts 17:11. They received the word with all eagerness and examined the scriptures daily to see if the things they heard were true. Searching and reading the Bible will help one to decipher the signs of the times, to discern and find faithful guides, and to intimately know God himself.

 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human tradition, and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.  Colossians 2:8

When we know and study the Word of God, this is our greatest defense against being tossed about by hollow and deceptive philosophies. When you feel confused and wondering, go back to the guide and get familiar with the landmarks. Shore up your shoes to walk the path that the Word will illumine.

When bank tellers are trained in detecting counterfeit money, they are told to never look for similarities on the currency but to always check for the differences. The same can be said for the Word of God. It is impossible to learn and know all of the fallacies that are out there; they often sound just.about.right.

We as Christians need to know the original and know it well, so that when the counterfeit comes our way, we can recognize it as such.  We must know that on which we stand, the rock of Christ Jesus, found in his Word.

You can check out some Bible Reading plans here if you are looking for somewhere to begin.  May we remain in Him.

In Christ's love, Erika