Key to Overcoming
Over the past 6 years I have experienced some of the darkest days of my life. I don’t say that for dramatic effect, nor do I say it to gain sympathy or pity. I say it because they are true words from my real life experience. The days I’m talking about wouldn’t be days you’d likely see posted about on Facebook or Instagram. Certainly not days that others would recall with a twinge of jealousy, wishing they too “had your life”. No, these would be the hard days, battled mostly behind closed doors, feeling desperate, helpless and sometimes even a little hopeless.
I met my husband about 6 years ago – and that my friends, is one of the beaming highlights from my story. We met through work and quickly became friends, then a dating couple, then an engaged couple and now we’ve been married for just shy of 4 years! My husband is a lot of things but unwaveringly committed ranks high on the list of adjectives to describe him. You see, 6 years ago when I met my husband is also when I started to get sick. Not like a little cold, running nose sick, but life-altering, debilitatingly sick. I had always had some digestive issues, but this was different. I was struggling with processing food in general, chronic constipation, chronic fatigue, brain fog, adrenal fatigue… I think you get my point. I went to any and every doctor that claimed they could help me with zero results, zero relief. I was up against something that no amount of effort, nutritional discipline or willful desire could beat. When you’re standing in the face of your own personal Goliath, it really makes you wonder “How in the heck was David so confident that his little sling and smooth stone would take down his giant?”. And that’s when the Lord started unfolding for me the depths of His command to abide in Him.
A fairly well known passage on abiding is found in the New Testament, in John chapter 15. Jesus is telling us a parable (which is just a simple story told to illustrate a deeper Truth) about being a vine, and how we are branches. Understanding that in the cultural context of that day, agriculture and farming, including growing and harvesting grapes was a very common occupation – so this parable would have been easily understood by the people He was directly speaking to. And yet if we can dig into it a little, it has HUGE implications for us today as well.
John 15:4-5 says “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
The word abide here can also be defined to mean to remain or to stay. So what’s Jesus really saying? Unless we abide in Him, or unless we remain in Him we cannot bear fruit. We know from Galatians 5 that the fruit Jesus is referring to here aren’t grapes!
Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…”
Let that sink in for a minute. The call to abide is one done in love! Jesus knows that in order for us to experience true love, true joy or true peace in this life it only happens when we abide or constantly remain in Him. He is the vine, He is the conduit, our mediator and intercessor with the Father, the source of ALL life. I would dare say this truth is what my man David knew. It’s what gave Him courage to stand before his giant. It’s what caused his giant to fall.
I have to tell you, when I began to really understand this my life was forever changed. Abiding in Jesus means we aren’t trying to muster up the strength, confidence and courage to battle our Goliath’s alone. Abiding in Jesus means we stand before our Goliath’s unintimidated because we know we are just the branch (because let’s be honest, most of our Goliath’s could snap a branch in 2 without even flinching), but we stand unintimidated because any power at all to defeat this foe comes from the Source we’re seamlessly integrated with. His power, His life flows through us when we truly abide in Him.
So the next time you find yourself face to face with a giant twice your size or a mountain that just won’t seem to move no matter what you try, allow that to be a reminder that the only “effort” you need to exert is remaining connect to your Source. He will fight for you, you need only be still (and abide). That He’s promised!
Hi! My name is Alicia Smith and I’m the perfectly imperfect girl who’s becoming more in love with Jesus daily. I am married to the most handsome man in the universe, Josiah and by God’s good grace we are expecting our first baby – due in April 2017! We recently moved from Jacksonville, FL to the Richmond, VA for my husband’s job and are enjoying the adventure of living in a new city! I am also the humble writer of a personal blog called Sweet Smith Stories chronicling the goodness of God through my life experiences. I enjoy cooking, being outside and any time I can snag with friends and family. So happy to meet you!