Abide: Finding Consistency in Christ.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 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 15:1–4 ESV
I have been following this amazing Bible reading plan since I was sixteen on and off (here's the link just in case you're interested Jesus-islife). It's awesome and it takes me through the whole Bible once a year. But I must be honest, over the years I noticed I had the hardest time maintaining consistency when it came to prioritizing my quiet time. I would read my Bible thoroughly for a few months, be deeply blessed, and then struggle to continue doing that.
Many times, when I prioritized the daily reading (regardless of a plan), I was also made strong in such a special way, that this strength would last for a long time. There was an abundance of everything spiritual for that period. There were fruits in every side, and most importantly: my leaves would not wither. I was able to abide!
As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
Of course we never stop prioritizing just because. There are several times in life when making time becomes ever so difficult. Like the time I had to have grace on myself when my girls were born and my routine changed daily. Or when I started a new job and became a working mom who was waking up at 5am, and going to bed at 10pm having had zero alone time.
Those were tough times. I wasn't really seeking God then. Those were times when I decided to take a break because I concluded I was only surviving throught the hardships and it wasn't possible to do better. I was counting on my own strength and stoped believing that coming to Him, for whatever amount of time I had, would be enough. In seasons like that, I was always given strength to run a while longer before growing weary. Grace…
Having grace on myself was good. But because I wouldn't move on from that stage, I also became more tolerant with the absence of the extraordinary. I became tolerant to the fact I didn't have time. For those seasons, the same way I decided I needed a break from having to make the time for my reading, I ended up taking a break from a lot of other things too. I grew weary.
Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
As a result, every time I lived through this, I would become lonely and bitter in many ways. I would be a little less flexible and a lot more anxious. I would let frustrations from the past find room in my daily routine again. The room I said I didn't have before, would now be filled with all these dreadful and time-consuming thoughts and issues.
It was only when I prioritized my quiet time as a permanent thing, that I learnt how to hear Him better. Because when I don't, I am telling Him that He isn't really the bread of life. And if I need to eat everyday to be physically healthy, why is it that I expect to be spiritually and emotionally healthy too, without feeding from that very bread?
I don't waste my precious time being away from Him like that anymore. I never want to go hungry for days without eatinh this bread of life. Of course I now need to wake up a lot earlier then normal, and when everything else gets in the way, I have to stay up a lot longer too. Of course sin still gets in the way and I continue having weird days and difficulties. But now I can remember that despite not always being able to control how busy my routine is, I know the One who does. And when it all always starts and ends with Him in my life, I can abide.
For these last two years I have been consistent and He has also given me more time back. He taught me how to share the word and pray for others too. He gave me people to share His word with for every season (long or short) and some just to pray for (maybe even more so).
At the end of the day, it all comes down to loving God's word. He is the One who carefully orchestrates our days. His words are thoughtful instructions to make us succeed and I love Him for that. And when you love someone that deeply, you make time for them.
My soul keeps your testimonies; I love them exceedingly. I keep your precepts and testimonies, for all my ways are before you. Psalm 119: 167,168 ESV