Always Remain in the Lord

 

Thank God for dispensing His grace to the church through this year’s summer camp, so that many are renewed in their spiritual lives, and for letting us understand how to gain power in our spiritual journey, and learn how to enjoy God Himself through the lesson of waiting for Him. It too should be a valuable and practical lesson for those brothers and sisters engaged in the church building and in preparations for the summer camp. The Lord knows what challenges lie ahead for us in the coming year. Therefore, He first spoke to us through His servant, in order to prepare us to meet the new teachings of the future.

 

According to the usual experience of brothers and sisters after attending camp, it is easy for the passionate fervor of love for the Lord to diminish gradually through the routines of life, from ardent to moderate, and from moderate to cool. So then we await until another revival meeting or summer camp stokes up the temperature of our love for God again. After this camp, perhaps everyone is cognizant of the need to watch the odometer of our spiritual lives, and frequently visit the “gas station” to refuel. But we cannot solve the problem just by listening to a few more sermons or reading a few more spiritual books. We should also be aware if our spiritual vehicle is overloaded and unable to forge ahead due to the concerns of the world, the pleasures of the flesh, or even the burdens of excessive service. More importantly, who is in the driver’s seat of your spiritual vehicle? Who reads the map and navigates? Where are you headed to? These are all questions worthy of our contemplation.

 

We can discern the right path through the Lord’s teaching of the true vine. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.” (John 15:5) In this instruction, the Lord mentioned the phrase “remain in me” 6 times, because only by remaining in Him can we bear fruit (John 15:4); can we bear much fruit (John 15:5); can we not turn into branches that wither and are thrown away (John 15:6); can the words of the Lord remain in us (John 15:7); can our prayers be accepted and granted (John 15:7); can we remain in the love of the Lord (John 15:9); and can we savour complete joy (John 15:11). We are able to enjoy all these benefits because we remain in the Lord. If we are separated from Him, nothing can be achieved. The Lord said He is the “true vine”. So we must “truly remain in Him”. The critical key is to “obey His commands”. “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in His love.” (John 15:10)

 

Does a spiritual life have power? Can it bear fruit? Can it soar on wings? Is it always joyful? All hinges on whether we obey the word of God, or really His commands. Please reflect on your current situation and examine your spiritual index. Where have you disobeyed and not submitted to the word of God relayed to you through the Holy Spirit?  Are you willing to give up bad practices that even a non-believer finds unacceptable? Are you willing to forgo habits that give pleasure only to the flesh but can cause someone else to stumble? Will you refuse to log onto some websites that your conscience often admonishes you against? Do you have unfulfilled responsibilities towards your friends? Do you owe the spouse you love a truthful and sincere apology? Is there a debt that is due and unpaid? Is there an unwritten letter that should have been written? Have you made that concerned phone call to your parents? The illumination and touching of the Holy Spirit always manifest themselves in life’s little details, and are exhibited through our behaviour towards others, and how we handle social interactions. If we want to constantly benefit from the power and joy given by God during the summer camp, don’t forget what the Lord said, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." (John 14:21)

 

By: Daniel To