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Abide: Christ IN You (Part 2)

From Rise Up, an online discipleship course for young adults

4 min

This article was taken from the Rise Up workbook, part of a 12-week online discipleship course for young adults. The next Rise Up course will be held September 11–December 4, 2023 (registration closes September 4).

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me” (John 15:4).

But . . . I Still Have Problems

You might be thinking, Christ living in me is a great truth, but what about my problems? And I still have things I’m struggling with. Just knowing this truth doesn’t seem to fix me. 

How does lasting change happen in our lives? We would love an “instant fix.” We would love God to snap His fingers and make us permanently free from temptation and sin. But God has a method that He has chosen whereby He works the life of His Son in us. That method is called process. It is a growth process; God chooses to transform us little by little into the image of Jesus. It is a gradual transformation that requires walking daily with Him. We are impatient and want immediate results, but process keeps us dependent on God. We will never come to the place where we don’t need Him. (This whiteboard drawing takes you through the life cycle of a caterpillar giving a great comparison to our growth in the Christian life.)

The key to this process is found in several passages of Scripture. Take a look at the following verses: 

“Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind . . .” (Romans 12:2).

“And be renewed in the spirit of your mind” (Ephesians 4:23).

The renewing of our mind occurs as we let the Word of God replace our natural, fleshly thoughts. We do this by meditating on Scripture. As God’s Word begins to replace our thoughts, God transforms us into the image of Jesus Christ!

Your Belief System

Another question you might ask is, How does meditating on Scripture change me? 

There is always “rhyme and reason” behind your actions—you have something called a belief system. Your belief system dictates what you do. Mental agreement is different than your belief system. A person can hear thousands of sermons and mentally agree with them, but if his belief system remains untouched, there will be no lasting change in his life. This is why you can have repeated failure in your life even after hearing all the right truths. You will always act out your belief system. 

Basically, your belief system is what you hold to be true. Where did this belief system come from? Your belief system is formed by what you think about. It is the result of what you meditate on. Do you see the incredible power of your thought life! See the sequence that occurs: your actions come from your belief system; your belief system is formed by your thoughts. This is why meditating on Scripture is so powerful! 

As you meditate on God’s Word, you open the doors for fellowship and conversation with Him to take place. As you humbly receive His Word, His thoughts are able to enter in and change your mind—this is repentance! To repent is to change your mind and agree with God. Out of that repentance, your belief system is transformed. And this will, in turn, affect your actions. 

As you “keep” God’s Word—meditating on it, treasuring it, keeping it before your eyes, and obeying it— you are actually planting something inside you that is living and powerful (see Hebrews 4:12). The reason meditation on Scripture is so powerful is because the Word of God is Jesus (see John 1:1). As you meditate on the Word of God, the life of Jesus replaces the life of self within. He gets inside you and changes you from the inside out.

It’s About Abiding

John 15 talks about abiding. The branch cannot live on its own; it must stay connected to the vine and have the life sap from the vine continually flowing in order to live. It must abide. It is the same in our relationship with Christ. We cannot live apart from His life within us. The “life sap” of the Word of God must continually be flowing into our lives though meditation on Scripture. We must abide. For the rest of our lives, God will be growing us into the image of His Son. The growth will never stop. We will never reach a place where we won’t need to be connected to the vine. 

Remember, God’s confidence is not in your ability to live the Christian life. His confidence is in the life of His Son. The more you meditate on the Word—the more you abide, the more you are letting Christ live inside you!

Remember, God’s confidence is not in your ability to live the Christian life. His confidence is in the life of His Son.

About Rise Up

With online training videos, written material and assignments, online group meetings, and accountability for spiritual disciplines, Rise Up will challenge you to encounter God for yourself and see how His personal relationship with you affects every area of your life! The mission of Rise Up is to see young people encounter God through His Word and discover a personal relationship with Him in a deeper way than ever before. And then, out of that relationship, we join God in His desire that each young person would impact the world around them for the Kingdom of God.

Host a Rise Up Group

Are you interested in using the Rise Up curriculum for your Bible study group or Sunday school class? Rise Up’s content and structure work well for any age group and can be incorporated into many different dynamics! Check out Rise Up On-Site.

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