September 14 
The Abiding Life 

John 15  

Yesterday I shared with you about the time when God reminded me, "You are not the vine, Charles. I am the vine." For years I tried to accomplish by myself what Jesus Christ wanted to achieve through me—in other words, I attempted to produce fruit by doing good works. My desire was to impress God and earn His approval. His goal, on the other hand, was for me to act like the branch that I am and just abide.

The Holy Spirit's job is to live the life of Christ through us. This process is known by a variety of names, including the exchanged life, the Spirit-filled life, and the abiding life. All of these monikers describe the joyful existence Paul spoke of in Galatians 2:20: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God." The apostle meant those words literally.

Seen from the outside, a branch does not appear to be doing anything. But don't get the idea that the abiding life is passive. Jesus was the perfect example of a Spirit-filled life, and He certainly didn't sit around! He worked hard out of a reservoir of divine energy (John 8:28). All of Christ's wisdom, knowledge, and courage was drawn from God through the Holy Spirit.

The fruit of the Spirit does not pop out of believers through effort; Christians bear fruit through surrender. We "take root" in the Lord by meditating on His Word, praying,  and serving. We reserve nothing for ourselves to control but fully rely upon Him. That's not passive living; it's an abiding life. 

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Some days it seems as if a spirit of anger is permeating the entire world. News stories of violence, road rage, and international discord fill the airwaves. If that were not enough, our families are also being torn apart by unresolved conflicts. Where do we turn for peace in this angry world? 
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