In an old commercial, I remember the speaker saying, “If it were up to me, man would live in jeans”. While that was just a commercial and a celebrity (and therefore not a doctrinal statement!), it does reflect what I like. Despite the fact that my environment often demands different attire, I am pretty happy when I can wear blue jeans.
It’s nice when we can wear something comfortable, when our clothing doesn’t pinch, constrain, or cramp our movement. It allows us to focus on whatever else we need to get done, whether that’s doing our job, enjoying time with loved ones, or just taking a break.
On Fridays, when I get to wear jeans to work, I no longer have to worry about catching a pair of khakis on an exposed piece of metal and tearing them. I can breathe a little easier and not worry about getting a stain on dress pants. And, if my hands are still a little damp after washing up, or if they get some food on them, I can just wipe them off on my jeans.
In the same way, we can live in discomfort – choosing a path that is unnatural for our bodies, minds, and souls – or, we can live the way that we were meant to. Jesus Christ – who demonstrated that He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life – offered us an abundant life (John 10:10).
In order to life live to its fullest, He instructed us to live in Him. Since He is the source of life, the more aligned with and connected to Him that we are, the more we can live with strength and spiritual success. As recorded in John 15:1-11, Jesus described this as the relationship between a vine (Himself, the source of life) and branches (us, who obtain life from Him).
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. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
John 15:4-5 NASB
I like this term, “abide” (or “remain”), because it implies something more than just a temporary situation. Jesus doesn’t say to just visit Him, or just to check in with Him occasionally. He doesn’t invite us to be blessed by only worshiping Him for a few hours per week. Instead, this should be an ongoing, permanent situation.
Functionally, “abiding” can look like the following:
- Conversations with Jesus. Usually called prayer, any time that we are talking with Jesus (which can be something we say out loud, as well as things we think – knowing that He hears us), or listening to Him, helps us abide with Him. Conversations remind us about what He is like, and builds our relationship with him. This can also involve reading the Bible, as a means of listening.
- Remembering Jesus. Usually called worship, taking the time out of our day to acknowledge that Jesus is alive, and is involved in our daily lives, helps us to abide with Him. As forgetful human beings, this reminder is good for us, and also gives Jesus the credit (or “glory”) that He deserves.
- Behaving the way we should. When our actions are aligned with Jesus’ expectations for us, we experience a life of righteousness like His own. While our version isn’t perfect like His, we not only have something in common with Him when we obey His teachings, but also have the opportunity to give Him the credit for helping us do so.
To be clear, while abiding in Jesus is exactly what we are designed for, and what our weary souls need, it’s not a life of laziness or apathy. Just like many jeans-wearers work hard to build, fix, haul, and plant things, abiding in Jesus involves meaningful activity and being a contributing member of the Body of Christ (each in our own way).
Still, when we are doing something that matters, we’re going to be more joyful than trying to be something we’re not. The latter scenario would be like a firefighter wearing high heels while bashing down a door in a burning building to rescue trapped residents. Even if she liked the way the shoes looked, they would neither be comfortable nor helpful for the situation.
So, whether or not you are able (or even want) to “live in jeans”, I truly hope that you can live in Jesus. That is the ultimate life, connected to the source of life, as we live out the life that He intended for us to enjoy.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation.