"Abide in Me, and I in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it
abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide
in Me." -John 15:4
Recently, I had lunch with
a dear friend who had been forbearing with a few
troubled family members for years. Thankfully, she has
come even closer to The Lord within the past year since
she lost her husband; and now she’s beginning to see her
family circumstances differently.
God is shining His light of
revelation and clarity on them as He transforms her
heart and renews her mind. My friend has come to realize
that God desires that she love them without becoming
entangled in their web of bitterness.
Abiding in His empowering
Overcome with joy, my
friend has gotten a taste of Christianity’s great
adventure. She sees how The Lord is opening new doors
for her. And she is beginning to experience His freedom
of holy living, coming to know that He can be fully
trusted with her difficult family members…as she
releases them to Him and as He progresses her forward.
So often, difficult
relationships prove to be catalysts that either forge us
closer to God or harden our hearts away from Him. And
once we get a genuine taste of God’s love for us and His
righteous path, we don’t want to turn back.
God simply desires that we
abide in Him through our difficulties. And we do this
sacrificially as we lay down our ways of battling others
and fully submit to His truth and directives. It’s
simple, but it doesn’t feel easy because our pride is
But what other choice do we
None that are righteous in
John 15:9 instructs us:
"Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you;
abide in My love."
What a wonderful invitation
of holiness and co-labor with Jesus to love like God
loves Him and to love like Jesus loves us. This
scripture is so revealing of Our Heavenly Father’s heart
to love without condition.
And as we see in Jesus’
life, this agape love means to love sacrificially, which
of course we cannot do without a close relationship with
Our Heavenly Father through Jesus, since He is our
source for love.
But what is this supposed
to look like in our daily relationships?
It looks like keeping our
peace in the face of an attack. It looks like responding
from The Holy Spirit, not reacting emotionally to
provoking gestures. It means praising God sacrificially
often, experiencing His empowering presence, so we are
not weak with a deficit. It means being confidently
assured that God is faithful to His Word and that He
loves us and our difficult relatives enough to get
everyone where He desires they be—walking closer with
1 John 4:16 tells us: "We
have come to know and have believed the love which God
has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love
abides in God, and God abides in him."
This wheel within a wheel
dynamic is empowering and enables us to effectively
handle difficult relationships God’s way—by expressing
His kindness in the face of bitterness while continuing
to rely on God’s presence and Word for comfort and
God makes it possible for
us to love others without getting entangled in enemy
snares if we steadfastly remain in Jesus, the vine. When
we actively know Him as our refuge, our provider, our
source of love, He empowers us with His grace to
navigate difficult relationships and not only stay out
of strife by His mercy but to also consistently
demonstrate God’s heart of love in the process through
How are your relationships?
Do you choose to love in
the face of bitterness and false accusations? Have you
taken the issue to God’s throne? Do you walk closely
enough with Him to feel His empowering, peaceful
presence? Do you trust Him to fight your battles through
And if you’ve never walked
this closely with God, then simply ask The Holy Spirit
to help you. He will.