Free Indeed

6:59 AM

Dear fellow abiders in the One True Vine,

I hope all of your studies are proving fruitful, and that you are growing in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ!  This past week, our country commemorated the fourteenth anniversary of September 11th, and as we remembered and reflected the day so many civilian and military personnel lost their lives, I hope you remembered the One who also made the supreme sacrifice and gave His life for our eternal freedom.  May we be sure to at least give Him the same honor and reverence we bestow upon the heroes of 9/11, thanking Him for what He has done and not taking for granted the freedom for which He paid the ultimate price.  To Him belong all honor, glory, and praise!

Now as we look at the second half of John 8, the verses that pop out to me are thirty-one and thirty-two.  These words of Jesus are so powerful and crucial to understand in order for us to further grow into His image.   When we look closer at these verses we find a progression:  first we must abide, if we abide then we will know the truth, and by knowing the truth, the truth will set us free.    As Americans we all enjoy freedom.  But the freedoms our country offers are only temporary and will not deliver us from the spiritual bondage of sin.  However, the freedom Christ offers is eternal and will release us from the control our sinful nature and enemy, Satan, has upon us.  So let’s strive to obtain the everlasting freedom Jesus is offering! 

According to John 8, we gain this freedom by abiding in God’s Word.  But what does the word abide mean?  Now as faithful Bible students I’m sure that at some point you’ve looked up the Greek word for abide—meno—and can rattle off the Strong’s definition without thinking.  However, I’m asking you what this word means practically, not technically, and what would that look like in your life?  When I think of abide, the first picture that comes to mind is the illustration Jesus gives in John 15:  “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.  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.”

One of the definitions for abide is to dwell.  Think about that for a moment.  What is a dwelling?  Someplace where you live, spend most of your time at, or known to be located at, right?!  So if we are to dwell in God’s Word, then that is where we should be living and spending the majority of our time.  Right now you are studying for the national level of the National Bible Bee competition and are probably spending most of your time in the Bible; however, what about the rest of the year?  From December to June are you still dwelling with God in His Word?  Furthermore, just because you are in the Bible studying for nationals does not mean that you are truly abiding/dwelling in the words written there.  Just like it is possible to surround one’s self with food and not partake of it, so also we can surround ourselves with the Word and not stop and take the time to learn from it.  However, if we learn from the words God breathed, make it our dwelling, and abide in them, then and only then are we truly Jesus’ disciples.         

So this week’s question is….are YOU abiding in God’s WORD to become Jesus’ disciple in order that you may know the truth and that the truth might set you free?

May we be a people who truly value our freedoms; both the ones given by the U.S.A. and the one given to us by Jesus Christ, the Son of God!  And in His word may we richly abide and dwell! 

Joyfully in Christ,

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  ~John 8:36

Editor's Note: This post is the next in a series of encouragers by a local host, Kristin.  You can find this and many other devotional posts on her blog, So I Fix My Eyes... Thank you, Kristin, for continuing to encourage other Bible Bee families through this!

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