I don’t have a green thumb. I did once. . .but that was a painting accident and a different story (big smile). Over the years, I have attempted planting trees, flower beds and a few gardens–with some success. My grandmother, on the other hand, could get anything to grow.
Recently, my boys and I purchased a single long stem rose for my wife. It wasn’t for any special occasion, just that we were thinking about her. We got home and put it in an old bottle for a vase and added water—rather unceremoniously. A few days later, however, we noticed new growth, a little shoot, coming from the stem right below one of the leaves. Wow! New growth coming from a dying stem?! Watching this little shoot grow a little each day, the biblical parallels just flooded in. (Flower with shoot pictured below.)
What a sight it must have been to see Aaron’s staff bud in front of your very eyes! How a seed must die before it can live. . . . How God’s creation is designed to produce after its own kind–which speaks volumes of God’s generational view.
But then my thoughts locked in on the source of life. This little stem is valiant in its growth, but it has no roots. It’s living off the nutrients in the water stored in the main root. Although valiant in its efforts, there is no life flow because it has been cut off from its roots. Roots are the source for sustainable life.
One word comes to mind: Abide. What are we abiding (rooted) in? What things or people or activities are we striving in in order to receive life flow? Where is our source of life coming from? Are we drawing it from other people, places or things? (I always thought those “nouns” couldn’t be trusted!) Maybe we are drawing from past events, good or bad, as a battery stored up in our stems. But that is not abiding. We are to be abiding, or drawing life from God through Christ Jesus. We are the branches and He is the vine–our source for life.
I am not trying to offer a five step method to learn the proper approach to “abide” nor a three point sermon. I don’t even know the full meaning of the word. So I looked it up (yes, I know, grade school English class is haunting me again). Webster’s Dictionary gave a definition of abide as to “to wait for, to endure without yielding, tolerate, to remain stable or fixed in a state, to continue in a place.” Well, that’s a good definition, but it didn’t feel like too much of a life flow, rather stiff it seemed.
I am not minimizing the importance of good discipline, but discipline alone without God’s Spirit and His love is dead. The life of the word can be seen a little more in Strong’s #3306 meno meaning “to remain or dwell.”
That works better. To receive the very life of God by dwelling (living) and remaining connected to Him. Not apart from Him with a limited supply of life from trusting ourselves, religious systems, or whatever else we may try to draw life from.
The heart of what happened from that unexpected shoot from the flower was this—an invitation to “abide in Me” John 15:4.
How do we do this? Just come to the Father and ask Him to abide in you, and invite Him to cause His love to fill you, flow through you, and His Spirit to minister to you.
Here is my simple prayer:
Lord, I come to offer a simple prayer, please fill me and abide in me, help me to abide in You, as You abide in the Father. I choose to rest in your presence, to breathe in your life and to exhale my own striving for life.
About the Author
Stephen Wade grew up in Texas, but has traveled throughout North America in his work in insurance. Having served as a youth pastor, he holds a deep desire to see the next generations anchored in truth and love, walking in freedom. Stephen sees the beauty in Creation and captures it on film; he also possesses an innate ability to perceive the hidden value in aged and broken furniture, machinery, etc., and under his careful attention, restoration is worked.