I’ve always loved the imagery Jesus uses in John 15 when He explains that He is the True Vine and we, His disciples, are the branches. As we remain connected to Him, we WILL bear much fruit…simply because we are attached to the Vine.
But what does this “remaining” and “abiding” in Jesus look like in our everyday lives?
On the human level, communication is key in helping us remain in relationship with others. It is the same with us and God. When communicating with God, we know we can pray and hear from Him in His Word and through various teachings, but do we create space in our everyday rhythms of life to hear from Him in other ways?
Depending on your own spiritual background, you may or may not be comfortable with the idea of “hearing God’s voice”. For some, it’s only safe to hear God’s voice in the pages of Scripture, but anything beyond that is suspect. Other Christians seem to hear God speaking to them regularly throughout their days, and in various ways. Scripture as a whole seems to indicate all these ways are possible – the Lord can speak through His written word; a small, still voice; His Holy Spirit inside of us; circumstances; a timely word from a friend; and even dreams and visions.
Why does this matter?
Reflect honestly on how you tend to approach your everyday tasks at work, your to-do lists, your circumstances, and your relationships. Do you operate more on “auto-pilot” as you go through your daily routines, or are you desiring and seeking His presence, voice, and His leading to guide you in all your ways? How desperately do we feel like we need to hear our Shepherd’s voice in our everyday lives?
This carries over into disciple making. Seeking to BE and MAKE disciples reminds us how absolutely desperate we are for the Lord to guide and to give us everything we need to carry out His will. We need the Lord to form His heart in us and to guide us to People of Peace—the ones He’s truly working in, who are spiritually open. We need Him to teach us what to say, when to be silent, when to ask questions, and what questions to ask. We need Him to guide us in what Biblical stories to share with them, and / or when to invite them to discover God for themselves in scripture.
Practical abiding in Jesus and hearing our Shepherd’s voice may look different for everyone, but here are some simple ideas to try if you would like to grow in this:
- In your daily times of prayer, include times of silence where you are not talking to God, but rather listening for Him to speak (He may bring a scripture passage to mind, put someone on your heart to pray for, or speak to you in that still, small voice). It’s also ok if you don’t hear anything, and you just enjoy sitting at Jesus’ feet like Mary did.
- As you pray for lost friends and neighbors, ask the Lord “What do they need most right now?” “What does it look like to love this person well?” “How are you working in their life right now?” Again, this will require times of silent listening in your prayer time.
- As you interact with others throughout your day, ask the Lord to help you to listen well and to know what, if anything, He would have you to say or do for others. Keep an open dialogue going with the Lord throughout your day. Whether you’re stressed or things are going well, turn to Him in your heart and mind…regularly…and often.
May He help us to keep in step with His Spirit, and to abide in Him continually so He can bear much fruit through our lives for His Kingdom and His glory.
– Cindy Lees