By: Rachel Strange

“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.” (John 15:4 ESV)

I’ve lately been wondering how much of own my junk could be significantly reduced if I was better at remembering to just be with Jesus. John 15, which I’ve quoted above, is basically the passage of scripture I keep coming back to in order to remind myself of this idea. The word “abide,” sometimes translated as “remain” in the original Greek, seems to have this concept of staying in the same place as someone else. It’s being present. Sometimes it even includes waiting.

It kind of sounds like hanging out with someone.You know, that thing we did in our teens and twenties. We needed no agenda.We had all the time in the world. So we just...hung out.

It also sounds kind of like living with someone, I say as person with a spouse and two children. And if I’m honest, I don’t know if I always treat Jesus, the Father, or the Holy Spirit as though I’m living with them. I definitely talk to God throughout my day. I pray before my meals. I read my Bible with some regularity. But am I’m talking to Him like He’s always there? Like He’s as close a family member, always by my side, waiting for moments of friendship? Am I, like a fifteen year old and her best friend, perfectly satisfied to just hang out with Jesus, even if it feels like nothing is happening? Regardless, at any moment of the day, if I’m happy or sad, acting holy or not so holy, Jesus stands by with a simple invitation, “Abide in Me.”

I think every Christian would say they’d like to be friends with Jesus, but the truly revolutionary idea we often forget is He wants to be friends with us. In verse 15 of this same chapter, Jesus says, No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” That invitation for us to know what the Father is up to still stands. Friendship is available to us. And yet, rather than take up that invitation, I find myself filling any empty space in my day scrolling through social media for the 100th time.

In other places in the Bible, there’s plenty of verses talking about lordship and kingship. Those are great things, and we need them. But I sometimes wonder if in our desire to remember God is the King, we forget Jesus called us friend.

As much we need to hang out with Him, and we need to hang out with Him, He wants to hang out with us.

And hanging out with Jesus comes with perks. Like getting your prayers answered (verse 7), being a person who is able to live free from sin (verse 10), the ability to live a  purposeful, meaningful life and having joy (verse 10).  But these perks are small potatoes compared to friendship with the One who made the Heavens and the Earth. The One who destroyed sin. The One who gives freedom and opens the eyes of the blind.

Maybe you’re different than me, but I’m personally flattered when someone I don’t naturally groove with wants to be my friend. It’s just nice to wanted.  But yet, I neglect to set aside time for the Truest Friend. I’d love to say I’m writing this having completely fixed this area of my life. I’d love to be able to tell you, “Here I am writing this blog on the other side of getting it together. Now I’m even aware of Jesus while changing poopy diapers or doing my 40th load of laundry this week.” But I’m not there yet.

I do know there are things I can do to make me more aware of Jesus’ invitation to be with Him. So for right now, I’m reading John 15 all the time. I’m reminding myself daily of Jesus’s call to friendship and purposefully setting aside consistent time to put the screens and noise away. It’s taking practice, but I’m getting there.  I hope my honesty reminds you; He is waiting and encourages you to ignore the noise for a little while and simply hang out with Him.

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