man-treeJesus said, “Abide in me,” or “Remain in me.” How do you do that?

First of all…Spend time with Jesus.

I don’t mean going to church or watching Christian TV or reading a Christian novel or surfing Christian websites. I mean spending time alone with Jesus — just you and him and no one else. Tell him what you think. Tell him what you feel. Tell him what you like and what you don’t like and what you dream about and what you worry about and what you want your life to become. Talk to Jesus.

And then spend time listening to him. Open your Bible. Go to one of the gospels, read a story about Jesus, read one of the parables, read one of his sermons, and ask yourself: What is Jesus saying to me right now through this story? Then listen to what he says. Some days you’ll listen better than others, but the key is to make a consistent effort.

Second…Get Serious About Obedience.

It’s been said that the only part of the Bible you truly believe is the part you obey. It can also be said that the depth of your love can be measured by the depth of your obedience. The two give strength to one another. The more you love, the more you’ll obey; the more you obey, the more you grow in love.

Now, obedience is a heavy word. It’s an intimidating word, and sometimes an irritating word, because it confronts us at our most problematic point. Who’s the boss? Who calls the shots in my life? We all want to be king of our own little kingdom, but that’s not possible — because we’re not kings.

As Bob Dylan said, we’ve all got to serve somebody. It may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you gotta serve somebody. The question is, who are going to serve? Who are you going to obey?

Third…Look for ways to serve others.

Jesus said…Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you… And then he said…Remember the word that I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master.

In other words, what he came to do, we are called to do. He came to lay down his life for his friends; we’re called to do the same. He came not to be served, but to serve; we’re called to do the same. And Jesus said when we show kindness to the least of this world — the disenfranchised, the homeless, the helpless, the sick, the poor — what we do for them, we do for him.

Years ago I wrote: “Don’t worry about how you feel today. Later you will feel good. Do something this moment to make that moment better.”

That means living a daily relationship with him, an abiding relationship with him. I encourage you to spend time with him. Seek to grow in obedience. Look for ways to serve him through serving others … that your joy may be full.