“Abide in me, and I in you.”John 15:4
Abide. It’s a strange word to us, not one we use much in conversation. But it’s everything we were designed for and what our ultimate goal is. Abide means to live, to find a place, to remain, to endure, to last. In the context of John 15, it means to immerse ourselves in an ongoing, intimate relationship with God, characterized by prayer, obedience and joy.
The beginning of the school year is a time of fresh starts and renewed vision. As we consider plans and goals for this year at Summitview, we’re trusting that God prepared us by having us spend our summer in John 14-17. These chapters contain some of the final words we have from Jesus. They’re what he wanted to impress upon his disciples before he returned to his Father. And in these chapters, much of what he emphasized is abiding. Sometimes he used the word itself, as in John 15, and sometimes he used other words to share the same idea, as in John 17.
This year at Summitview, our hope is that all of us can freshly discover an abiding relationship with God. We want to know him more deeply. We want to experience the joy that Jesus promises us. We want to pray expectantly and see him answer. We want to shift priorities and schedules in order to be with him more. As we think through our Sunday mornings, our small groups, and dozens of other ministries, our aim is to weave abiding throughout, and in so doing, to experience an extraordinary renewal of relationship with God.
Not only does abiding with God have an internal effect on each individual, but also an external one. That’s clear, especially in John 17. Growing in oneness with God necessarily results in a greater oneness with each other. And a greater oneness with each other necessarily draws people on the outside in, as indicated in John 17:20-23. So our priority is to be with God, but we expect that our nearness to God will bear fruit in far-reaching ways.
So as we begin another school year, join us in reflecting on how God may lead you to freshly abide in him. And as you do abide in him, expect that others will want what you have.
– Aaron Ritter, on behalf of the pastors