One of the wisest men of all time, the Biblical King Solomon, once wrote, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3 ESV) These words of wisdom are as fresh and as relevant today as when they were first recorded, nearly 3000 years ago. And, this advice is vital to creators and dreamers alike — actually, to every last one of us.
Committing all our efforts to God, and then entrusting Him with both the process and the outcome, requires us to do two interrelated things: Lean on the Lord (previously discussed) And…
Abide in the Lord!
Humility in the face of God is acknowledging that without Him, we can accomplish nothing worthwhile. Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches. Those who stay united with me, and I with them, are the ones who bear much fruit; because apart from Me you can’t do a thing.” (John 15:5 CJB) Ouch! The image the Lord uses is clear: God is like a grapevine laden with ripe fruit. But we’re like the thick gnarly branches of a tree. If someone looks at us and sees us laden with juicy grapes, it’s only because we’ve allowed ourselves to become entangled in the fruit-bearing vine of our God.
Now, with human effort, we can accomplish stuff … on our own … in our own strength, in our own way and timing. But if we act independently of God, we’ll never fulfill His perfect will and divine purpose for our lives. Hence, we’ll never get to see just how amazing things would have turned out — if we’d allowed God to be the architect and builder of our dreams and artistic endeavors. And we’ll never realize the incredible heights of achievement or see all the wonderful places God wanted to take us — because we refused to let Him drive! And navigate us through the road of life.
In our own strength and wisdom, we can accomplish “great things.” But such things carry little if any spiritual weight. They lack eternal value and they’ll always pale in comparison to what God can accomplish THROUGH us! We just need to trust Him enough to let Him steer, remembering that God said, “…I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
Getting back to John 15:5, some Bible translations use the phrase “whoever abides in Me,” but the idea is the same. To abide means: to dwell and to rest; to remain or stay; to be firm and unmovable. God wants us to dwell with Him, to rest in His strong arms, and above all, to stay connected to Him, the source of our strength and creativity. We can do this by making Him our “First Love,” by keeping Him as our #1 Priority, by allowing Him to guide us in all things, and by seeking to obey Him in all areas.
The act of “Abiding in the Lord” doesn’t simply happen. It’s a discipline, expressed by one’s attitude and actions, which must be sought and developed. We begin by believing in God’s Word and His promises; by entrusting Him with our lives, as well as our hopes and dreams; and by banking on His infinite love, mercy, and faithfulness. Then, instead of focusing on the problems and challenges of life, we must keep our focus on God’s Divine nature and character, and His ability and willingness to meet each and every need — always remembering that “God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.'” (Hebrews 13:5 NLT)
Learning to abide will also require spending some quality time with God each day, during which we fellowship with Him through Bible study and prayer. We’ll discuss “Tapping into the Power of Prayer,” in our next Boot Camp session.