Elevate 28 - A 28 Day Challenge to Intentionally Engage with God's Word
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
What Can Happen When You Abide
By James MacDonald, Walk in the Word
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” —John 8:31-32
When Jesus talked about abiding, He tied three significant outcomes to the process. Abiding is what real disciples do. Abiding leads disciples to know the truth. And, abiding leads to freedom. It's clearly worth our while to understand what He meant by abide.
You may not remember the last time you used abide in a conversation. You have probably never told your kids, “If you abide in my house, you live by my rules!” And you may not say to your spouse as you celebrate your wedding anniversary, “I’m glad we’ve abided together all these years.” But lack of common usage makes it all the more important to understand why abide is the key in Jesus’ statement in John 8:31-32.
The word can be translated “to live within,” “to dwell,” or “to take up residence.” Jesus was saying in essence, If you live in My Word and your life is a genuine reflection of what I say, you are truly My disciples.
To abide in His Word as disciples means our thoughts and conversations are permeated with Scripture. We are living in God’s Word so much that it fills us up, guides our thoughts, and overflows from our lips. If we’re not abiding in Jesus’ words, if we’re not basing everything we believe on the Word of God, we can’t expect to know the truth or experience the freedom that comes from knowing His thoughts.
But if we are abiding disciples, the truth saturates our hearts and minds—because His Word is truth. The more we know it, the more we are sensitized to what is true. We perceive when ideas and teachings are true because they agree with the Bible, and when concepts don’t agree with God’s Word, we know they are false.
The ultimate result of abiding in Jesus’ Word is freedom. His first-century hearers were all bent out of shape, because they thought He was offending their heritage. But Jesus made it clear that abiding in Him and His Word meant freedom from sin. As David attested, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). The truth we find in God's Word steers us and clears us from sin, keeping us free to serve Him.
To be an authentic disciple of Jesus, you must abide in His Word. He wants you to know His truth, as He dwells in you and you in Him. The more you immerse yourself in Scripture, the more you will find yourself abiding in Christ and discovering the freedom He bought for your life. Abiding in the truth will set you free indeed.
James MacDonald is a Canadian-born evangelical Christian pastor, Bible teacher, and author. He was the co-founder and senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, and was the Bible teacher for the former broadcast ministry, Walk in the Word.
REFLECT & RESPOND
Gabriel’s Playlist is a Why Not Charleston mission project that will launch in the Spring of 2018. The purpose of this project is to bring God’s message through music. Gabriel’s Playlist is not a for profit song provider. It is a FREE music offering that will provide favorite song lists by theme including interactive polling, comments and sharing options for members.
Elevate28 is excited to provide pre-launch favorite song lists offered by Gabriel’s Playlist.
This preview includes Gabriel’s favorites that bring God’s message of BEING FREE.
Download the following titles using Apple Music, Spotify, or preferred music provider platform.
Enjoy watching videos with the links below.
Kenny Loggins: I’m Free
News Boys: I am Free
Francesca Battistelli: Free To Be Me
Casting Crowns: Set Me Free (Parent Preview)
*Bonus Children's Devotional*
Written by Lilian Wambui
You already know I have lots of brothers and sisters. That means many times a day there is a way for me to share my joy with someone. Do you know what it means to share joy? It is way more than just being happy, because I can have joy even if my day is not going well. You can too! Even though we can't see Him, joy comes from believing in Jesus.
When we believe in Jesus, God fills us with His gift of joy. Jesus saved us from our troubles, so that is a great reason to be joyful. I also don't keep joy to myself. I love to share it with others by singing, dancing, and smiling at everyone. Just like with showing love, I need the help of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit or I could not succeed.
"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy."
1 Peter 1:8
This devotional was provided by Fruit the Lasts Ministry. They are a ministry that creates children's books based on the Fruits of the Spirit. To learn more about them and Fruit that Lasts, please visit their website.
This activity was provided by the Teacher Love Project - a Why Not Charleston community education initiative. The Teacher Love Project aims to provide love and encouragement to teachers that will elevate their wellness and care and therefore, enhance student achievement. We must care for those who care for our children - we must love each other because God loved us first.
"We love because he first loved us."
1 John 4:19
”I Am Free”
by Taraea L. Griffith
I am free praise the Lord I’m free no longer bound no more chains holding me my soul is resting it’s just a blessing praise the Lord hallelujah I’m free. Lord everything is permissible for me but not everything is beneficial; everything is permissible for me but I will not be mastered by anything. It is for freedom that Christ Jesus has set me free so I stand firm and I will not let myself be burdened by a yoke of slavery and whom the Son sets free is free indeed, praise the Lord hallelujah I’m free. In Jesus Christ Name
1 Corinthians 6:12
Taraea L. Griffith lives in Charleston with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She is a poet and writer, and making an offering of her special gifts and talents as a Why Not Charleston 2020 contributor.
THRU THE LENS - FINDING YOURSELF IN GOD'S WORD
A blog by regular men and women about finding themselves in God's world
This Is Just Who I am... Or Is It?
By: Maranda Shellhaas
Most of us have known someone who has used the phrase “This is just who I am” to justify less than ideal habits or behaviors. The behaviors or habits can take on many forms—outbursts of anger, rudeness or manipulation—are just a few examples. For me, I had a tendency to become aggressive when I was fearful, angry when i didn’t get my way and combative if someone criticized me. This is just who i am-is what I would say after an episode of one of these responses to a circumstance would show up.
At some point I named the “person” who was exhibiting those immature responses as my “Inner Brat”. I used this name because I could see how childlike i was acting—but, did not believe that there was any way that could change... This is just who I am.
As my faith and knowledge of God began to grow—I began to start experiencing guilt and shame after times when the “Brat” would show up. I would read in the Scriptures about how when we are in Christ we have been given a new identity-Christ and all of who He is lives in me (Galatians 2:20). I would read that i have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). As I learned these things I began to look more closely at why I even had an “Inner Brat”.
All of these childlike behaviors were developed at an early age to meet needs. Survival mechanisms. I became to understand that though I had experiences in my past that gave the opportunity for these tactics to be developed and mastered—they were no longer needed. Scripture says that we have to give up childish ways. (1 Corinthians 13:11).
I have found that the only way to be free from these old ways was to discover and understand what His Word says about me. That He sacrificed His life so that I did not have to be trapped by old ways of thinking and responding that were unholy.
I no longer have to justify myself by saying “This is just who I am”. The truth of God’s Word has set me free to be who He created me to be…. Because-if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John8:36)
Maranda Shellhaas lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, Scott, and 3 dachshunds, Molly, Posey, and Marley. She is a fishing enthusiast and works as a financial analyst.