Abiding in Christ, Not Arriving: Cassie Pattillo
It wasn’t too long ago (at least it doesn’t feel like it) that I was 16. I heard women teach the Bible, and though, “They’ve arrived”. They spoke, and the love of Jesus oozed out of them. It seemed talking about Jesus and teaching his Word was as natural for them as breathing. I wanted to be like them. At 16, I couldn’t wait for the day I “arrived”.
Now, at 29, I think on that and laugh. It doesn’t matter how long we journey with Jesus, we’ll never “arrive” until we meet him face to face. The Spirit continually sanctifies us in order to change us for his glory. No, friends, we aren’t called to arrive. Simply, we’re called to abide.
John 15:5 says, “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.” To abide means to remain or continue. Truthfully, we’re always abiding in something. What we abide in is what we’re connected to. It’s where our mind is focused throughout the day. Unfortunately, we’re far too often abiding in our phones or other mindless things, instead of the only one worthy of abiding in- Jesus Christ.
Jesus teaches out of the overflow of our hearts, our mouths will speak (Matthew 12:34). The women I looked up to had a heart filled with Jesus, so that overflowed in their lives. This should be our aim; however, this doesn’t come at a certain point in Christianity. One doesn’t “arrive” at holiness and overflowing Jesus when they reach adulthood or any other stage in life. No, this call is for all believers in all seasons of life. We can only live this out by abiding as Christ commands us to do in John 15. What we abide in is what we’ll bear fruit in. If we abide in our phones, our fruit won’t be very Christlike. If we abide in our jobs, the fruit might be stress instead of peace. No, dear friends, in order to be holy as Christ is holy and have Jesus overflow from us, we must abide in Christ alone.
So, what does it mean to abide? It means daily being connected to Christ and humbly submitting ourselves to him. Abiding in Christ is praying without ceasing. We can pray for our children while they’re in school, intercede during our commute, or use household chores as a time for adoration. We can post pictures or reminders on the fridge, and then pray for those people, events, countries, etc. each time we open it. Abiding in Christ is also studying the Word. We must be students of the Bible; it’s God’s special revelation to us and one of the main tools he provides to know him and grow in him. While other books and resources can have their place, we’re not abiding in the Christ if we prioritize those over studying Scripture. Abiding in Christ doesn’t stop there, though. We can’t just read our Bible to check it off our list. We must meditate and think on Scripture throughout the day. This is tough, because many other things require our thoughts, but there’s practical ways we can keep our mind focused on Christ. We can post Scripture throughout our homes or dorms, or change the lock screen on our phones to Scripture. We can listen to gospel-centered podcasts or music as a way for the Word of Christ to dwell in us as we do life’s daily tasks. Ultimately, we should work to take every thought captive to the Lord and use Scripture to fight battles that come our way each day. This means when we’re anxious, we remind ourselves of Jesus’ command to not worry. When we’re afraid, we remember the countless Scriptures that promise God is with us so we need not fear. When we’re tempted to sin in our anger, we remember the commands to be slow to anger. It means when we fail, we preach the gospel to ourselves.
Abiding in Christ is truly a 24/7 thing. This shouldn’t intimidate us; instead, it should humble us. The holy and righteous God of the universe wants us to be forever connected to him! Jesus wants to be a part of the details of our lives. Of course, abiding in him is taking the big decisions to him such as what job to take, but it’s also taking the smaller things to him too, such as asking for wisdom on a test or for a gentle heart in disciplining our children.
We can’t be the wife, mom, student, or employee God calls us to be without abiding in him. John 15 teaches we’ll bear no fruit apart from him. However, in Christ, he makes us enough and equips us to do the good works he prepared in advance for us. Sisters, the Christian life isn’t about a checklist. It’s not about suddenly being a godly woman when we marry, have children, or whatever other expectation we have. It’s about staying connected to God as if our next breath depended on it. We’re called to abide in Christ as we drive to work, walk to class, nurse our babies, or have coffee with a friend.
Ladies, may we stop believing we have to wait until a certain point to “arrive” in Christ, but know the truth that we’re only to abide in him, in every season of life. As we abide, he’ll do the beautiful work of sanctification in our lives. May we stay connected to the Vine so that Jesus will overflow from us, and may we point others to Christ, so they might be connected to the Vine too.
Hi! I’m Cassie, wife of seven years to Jack, and mama to Hunter (4) and Isaac (2). I’m also “paper pregnant” as we are in the process of adopting a daughter from India. Jack is a student pastor, so I split most of my time between teenagers and toddlers. I love serving alongside him, studying the Word, and writing and teaching about the Word. I am also a big fan of slow mornings with a cup of coffee, a good book on the beach, and Gamecock football.