Receive and Remain

We are now only 3 and half months away from our ABIDE conference! It seems crazy to think about but it’s true!

As you know, our conference is centered around the verse from John 15:4 where Jesus invites us: Abide in Me, and I will abide in you. A branch cannot bear fruit if it is disconnected from the vine, and neither will you if you are not connected to Me.

To prepare our hearts and minds for our conference topic, we are going to be exploring the many different themes Jesus gives us in that passage as well as the surrounding verses of John 15.

Last month I introduced this through Embrace. Our June Embrace word was “Remain” and our questions helped us to focus on what it truly means to remain or Abide in Jesus…to be still…to rest…to allow Him to do the work He has created us do through us.

To remain or abide in any situation requires a surrender of will. When Jesus said to remain in Him or when God tells us to be still, He is inviting us into His presence, to experience the indwelling of His Spirit.

I heard a sermon recently on Luke 4… specifically the passage where Jesus is rejected from his own home town of Nazareth. The speaker shared that just before he went there (looking back at Luke 3), Jesus was baptized in the Spirit, then led into the wilderness by the Spirit (Luke 4:1), and finally, returned to Galilee filled with the Spirit.

I love that progression. Jesus received the Holy Spirit, then was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested, and then returned filled with the Spirit so that He could begin His work! Here we see Jesus completely surrendered to the Spirit’s leading. He was abiding in the Spirit! And He invites us to do the same…to fully embrace and receive Him.

The speaker went on to say something that has really stuck with me: She said, there is a difference between accepting and receiving. Acceptance indicates that you are tolerating something or making allowances to endure. Whereas to receive is to welcome, to have, to partake in.

Jesus doesn’t invite us to only just accept Him, but to receive Him completely. In our John 15 passage, Jesus says remain or abide in me and I will abide or remain in you.

When you abide somewhere, you live there. You’ve set up camp. You’ve moved in, unpacked, and now reside there. I can relate to this right now, although the unpacking is an ongoing process!! I cannot wait until all the boxes are unpacked and I can sit in my living room and breathe!

That’s what Jesus is offering us when He says to remain or abide in Him. He wants us to receive Him and His Spirit into our home (hearts) and allow Him to move in, get settled, unpack…to surrender ownership over to Him. Then we are led by Him and His Spirit…sometimes through trials. But He never leaves us! And finally, we are filled with Him and His Spirit as we remain or abide in Him to do the good works which God has prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10)!

Won’t you receive Him today?

Heather Hanton
Media and Ministries Specialist
The Salvation Army Central Territory
Women’s Ministries Department

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