A few weeks ago during one of my yearly medical appointments, my doctor told me that I needed to reduce my stress. At first he was going to prescribe a medication (which I was willing to accept); then, he changed his mind and said,” I am not giving you the medication; you know what to do and I believe you can do it.” This conversation made me feel humbled, thankful, and honored—
- humbled, because I wasn’t doing what I knew I needed to be doing;
- thankful, because in a very kind way my doctor pointed that out to me
- honored, because he recognized that I have the knowledge and ability to make changes.
God spoke to me through my doctors words. I thanked him, as well as my doctor, and told him that I wanted to exchange my stressful lifestyle for a restful lifestyle. I asked him to show me more clearly what a restful lifestyle looks like.
He gave me the following seven-point guideline which I’m calling “The 7 R’s of Restful Living.”
- Remain with Jesus
- Remember your frame—body, soul, and spirit
- Receive kindly-spoken truth
- Resist Resentment
- Reduce your commitments
- Rid yourself of clutter
- Rejoice with friends
By following these guidelines for seven weeks, I’m confident that my stress level will decrease. Each week, I will be sharing what I’m learning in my blog post. Today, my topic is: Remain with Jesus.
What does it mean to remain with Jesus? Remaining with him is just like remaining with any other person. It means staying rather than leaving. I married my husband in 1967; in a few weeks, I will have remained (stayed) with him for fifty years.
John never forced me to live with him; I chose to do so. Before we got married he told me that he loved me. If that was the one and only time that he said “I love you”, I would not have wanted to stay with him for fifty years. Frequently he’s told me. Just as importantly, frequently, he’s shown me that he loves me.
If I ‘d never acknowledged his love and responded to it by returning his love, I don’t think that he would have wanted to stay with me. Because he is such a faithful person, I’m confident that he would have remained, anyway. But neither of us would have enjoyed very much.
What has it taken for us to stay together and enjoy our togetherness? One very obvious but easily neglected thing is that we talk with one another. Even after fifty years, we cannot read one another’s minds. It’s through our words that we discover what one another thinks, feels, and desires. He wants to give me what I desire, and I want to give him what he desires.
It’s the same with Jesus. He never forced me into a relationship with him. When I heard that he loved me (I was convinced of it by his words, that is—Scripture), I chose to enter into a life-long relationship with him. I’ve remained with him because he continues to love me. And my love for him continues to grow.
What keeps the love flowing between Jesus and me? The same thing that keeps the love flowing between my husband and me—frequent conversations. As I read Scripture, Jesus tells me more and more about himself—he shares his desires his thoughts, his plans; I feel honored and loved.
Because I’m confident of his love, I listen to his words; I feel blessed not only by his affirmations but by his kindly-spoken words of correction. And I’m finding out the truth of this statement:”Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble” (Psalm 119:165 NLT)
You can find much more about what it means to remain with Jesus in the Gospel of John, chapter 15. In some translations the word that’s used for “remain” is “abide.”
What I recently heard from Jesus (while mediating on John 15 and Psalm 119: 165) I express in the following poem/song.
REMAIN WITH JESUS
If I love God, I will love his instructions.
Listen to him and do what he says—
Live a life of intentional obedience,
Making plans and following through.
Remain with Jesus;
Remain with Jesus;
Remain with Jesus!
I will do my best on all his assignments,
Trusting in the wisdom he gives—
Always remain in touch with the Spirit
So from his purpose, I do not shift.
Often, I’ll need to make an adjustment
Not from his purpose, just to my plan.
If I’m resentful of all interruptions,
I’ll miss what Jesus is saying to me.
Some of my phone calls, I need to answer
Blocking them all reduces my sight;
Without help from brothers and sisters,
My vision of Love will be incomplete.
Remaining with Jesus, I have discovered,
Also means remaining with them.
For this is his most basic instruction–
Love one another as I have loved you.