“I can’t believe he did it anyway,” I thought. “He asked my opinion, I told him—NO. I didn’t think we should get involved in a new ministry. And he did it anyway.” It happened; again, someone I love hurt me deeply. I was livid. My passive-aggressive, self-preserving anger turned into an erupting volcano of bitterness because I was unwilling to forgive. I was wronged, felt double-crossed, and believed my loved one did not deserve to be forgiven. I held onto my rage and went through the motions of walking with Christ. But all along, my resentment grew; I did my own thing and asked God to bless my feeble efforts to serve Him. I didn’t know how to respond to God’s efforts to prune me.
“To abide in Christ is to renounce any independent life of our own,” says RA Torrey. “If we remain in Him and He in us, we function fully dependent on His power. This is the only way to live a victorious Christian life.” In the fifteenth chapter of John, Jesus refers to Himself as the Vine and we are the branches. As we remain in Jesus, we stay in fellowship with Him, by our choice to depend on His power. John 15:5 says, “If a man remains in me and I in Him, he will bear much fruit, for apart from me, you can do nothing.” If we commit our lives to Him and ask Him to dwell in us, we must accept the pruning process He brings—whether it be in forgiving the undeserving, surrendering the strong will, or trusting His hand to lead us forward into unknown territory.
Logos Bible software explains to “abide” is to live, continue, or remain; so to abide in Christ is to live in Him or remain in Him. When a person is saved, he or she is described as being “in Christ,” held secure in a permanent relationship. Therefore, abiding in Christ is not a special level of Christian experience, available only to a few; but it is the position of all believers.
To abide in Christ requires complete and absolute commitment along with self-denial. If I had chosen to abide in Christ, forgive the one who hurt me, and ask God to take care of revenge I wanted to dish out, things would have turned out differently. What would have happened if I had forgiven my offender and surrendered my anger? I should have invited Jesus into my situation, let go of my hurt and hate, and yielded to His love. I have learned from my mistake. I have a hunch I will have more opportunities to trust God in the future. OK, I’ve learned my lessons the hard way; I will not run from God’s pruning anymore. Bring it on, Lord.
May I pray for you today? Dear Heavenly Father, help us stay connected, in tune, ready to let your gentle hand prune us as soon as we need it. Thank you for your willingness to use anything that comes our way for your glory—if we are willing to trust your heart in the middle of the pain in the pruning. In Jesus’ name, amen.