Fear is so prevalent in the world today that it may even seem normal to be full of worry and anxiety. But that should not be the norm for Christians. That is why I chose “Faith over Fear” to be the theme for the monthly Delight in the Word Challenge this month. I believe that if we are going to live free from bondage to fear, that we must act offensively, not just defensively. One of the most powerful things we can do to combat fear is to learn how to abide in Christ.
But what does the word “abide” even mean? And just exactly how do you abide in Christ?
We can find the word “abide” in both the Old and New Testaments. This Bible verse from Psalm 91 is one of my favorites:
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.- Psalm 91:1-2 KJV
Abide is not a word that is used much in our everyday conversations. So I did a word study on it to find out what abide really means.
I share what I learned, and what I discovered about how to abide in Christ in THIS GUEST POST that I wrote for InstaEncouragements for the ABC’s of God’s Love series. Please go read it first, because it will make the rest of this post make more sense.
Now that you have learned what the Bible says about abiding in Christ, I’d like to share with you some practical applications.
How to Abide in Christ – Seven Simple Strategies
Using these strategies has made a huge difference in my life. I went from wallowing in self-pity to being filled with joy; from being paralyzed by fear to rising up with boldness; from drowning in defeat to walking in victory. I went from just having a little knowledge about God’s Word to experiencing its power working in me.
I am still learning how to abide in Christ, but I wanted to share with you a few strategies that are helping me.
Many of these strategies involve Scriptures and that is because, according to John chapter 1, Jesus actually is the Word of God. This revelation changed my life and is why I created my very first Bible journaling page on this truth.
Also, remember that John chapter 15 talks about Jesus’ words abiding in us, as a prerequisite to us bearing fruit.
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. – John 15:7-8
Abide in Christ Strategy #1 – Selah Moments
‘Selah’ is a Hebrew word found many times in the Psalms. It’s a beautiful, if not somewhat mysterious, word. referring to a voluntary and intentional pause for reflection. It’s a word that beckons and invites us to slow down; to linger and pause in God’s presence and to pay attention to Him. Often in times of pausing, God gives us a revelation that transforms our perspective, bringing us closer to Him. Selah moments position us to hear His voice and become more aware of His presence.
Selah moments can be an extended amount of time, which some people refer to as their “quiet time”. But they can also be very small snippets of time scattered throughout your day.
For instance, one strategy I have found helpful, especially during really busy seasons, is to set daily alarms on my smartphone. When the alarm goes off, I stop whatever I am doing and pause for just a few moments to simply thank Jesus for being present with me right now. (I’m simply agreeing with what Jesus said in Matthew 28:20.)
“…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20 ESV
If you are new to the concept of abiding in Christ, start with this simple strategy. I think you will be surprised at what a difference it can make in your life.
For a deeper study on this topic, check out Sweet Selah Moments: Encouragement for Everyday Living by Sharon Gamble.
Abide in Christ Strategy #2 – Unavoidable Visuals
Your subconscious mind (what the Bible refers to as the heart) thinks in pictures, images, and symbols. That’s why during dreams (which are nothing but thoughts of the subconscious mind) all we see are pictures and symbols.
It also controls our habits. Habits govern most of our daily life activities. Habits are nothing but behavioral patterns stored in our subconscious mind.
Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it. – Proverbs 4:23
This is why I want to be intentional about what I see every day, and make sure that I am filling my subconscious mind (heart) with the Word of God, on autopilot.
Here are a couple of ways I do that…
I set a Scripture picture or Bible verse graphic as my wallpaper on my smartphone so that I see it every time I open my phone, which is usually a dozen or more times a day. And I try to not just look at it, but to also talk to God about that verse and/or pray it out loud.
I change the Scripture picture to a new one about every week. Although, sometimes I will keep the same one longer if I feel I am still really needing to feed on that particular truth of scripture.
“I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw:” – Proverbs 24:32 NIV
Are you a visual learner too? Do you open your smartphone more than a few times a day? If so, you might benefit from using this strategy as well. You can download a FREE Scripture Picture HERE.
I also place Scripture art in strategic places in my house, like on the inside of the mirrored cabinet in my bathroom, and on the inside of cabinet doors in the kitchen, and taped to the inside of my laundry basket, etc., so that every time I go to put on my makeup or throw the trash away or put away clean dishes, or do the laundy, etc. I see beautiful Scripture art and am reminded of God’s promises so I can meditate on them.
And, like my smartphone wallpaper, I like to change them up every week or two. Otherwise, I quit noticing them.
I rejoice at Your word As one who finds great treasure. – Psalm 119:162 NJKV
I talk more about the power of visuals to change our life in THIS POST on How to Choose Faith Over Fear.
Abide in Christ Strategy #3 – Make the Most of Every Opportunity
Instead of scrolling through social media, scroll through Scriptures!
I created a Scripture album in my Photos app where I save all of my Scripture pictures. When I am waiting in line (at the grocery store, bank, etc.) or while I am eating lunch or while I am sitting on the toilet or when I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep, or any time I have a few extra minutes, I will go to that album and look at and meditate on and pray those scriptures.
“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.” – Ephesians 5:15-16 NLT
Grab some beautiful graphics I made for this purpose HERE. (They’re free!)
You could also make an “old fashioned” album by printing out Scripture art and placing them in a small photo album that you carry in your purse, or punch a hole in one corner and put all your Scripture art on a ring, that you can review like flashcards.
“I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways.
I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.” – Psalm 119:15-16 NKJV
Abide in Christ Strategy #4 – Sing Scriptures
I love to utilize the power of music. But not just any music… and not just any Christian music. I like to sing Scripture songs (songs that lyrics that are based on a Scripture, or that are simply Scriptures set to music.
Using my smartphone, I put on music and sing along while I get dressed in the mornings, while I am washing dishes, or cleaning the house, or while I am walking or exercising, and also while I am driving.
It is well documented that music helps us to memorize things so I choose songs that contain Scripture in the lyrics. And besides that, singing is fun! However, I don’t just sing for fun, but I sing the songs TO God, worshipping him, praising him, thanking him, and enjoying his presence.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” – Collosians 3:16 NKJV
Julie Meyer, a Dove-nominated artist and worship leader, has been teaching all believers how to do just this. She shows that you don’t need to know how to read music or even sing in tune. All you need is Scripture and a willingness to engage God in song. As you do, you will see heartache turn into hope, despair into destiny, fear into fearlessness. You stand on the Word, pray it, and even memorize it. Now it’s time to sing it.
Abide in Christ Strategy #5 – Write the Word
Psalms 1 says that “blessed” is the person whose delight is in
the law of the LORD.
Writing out Scripture is such a simple,
easy way to “delight” in the Word of God.
Anyone can do it. It only takes a few minutes,
and no perfection, skill, or talent is needed.
It has been proven that the simple act of writing something down
helps you remember it (or hide it in your heart.)
“Thy word have I hid in mine heart,
that I might not sin against thee”. – Psalm 119:11
Plus, I find that when I write out a Scripture, I often notice words,
phrases or punctuation that I never even noticed before,
even if I have read that exact verse a dozen times.
And it can give that verse a whole new meaning to me.
If you are a visual or kinesthetic learner, like myself, you are
going to love Scripture writing!
There is just something about being creative with our hands
and seeing it with our eyes, that helps things to “click” in our brains.
That is why I make lots of space for writing out Scriptures in my Bible study books and prayer journals (available in paperback, printable, and digital formats.)
Abide in Christ Strategy #6 – Utilize the Power of Pretty
Consider the following quote from The Evidential Power of Beauty:
“…all beauty in the created order, both in the heavens and on the earth, derives its beauty from the “radiant form” of the Person of Jesus Christ,
Who is the express image of the Beautiful God.
As human beings created in that image, we are made to resonate with the form of that which is beautiful, and we find ourselves captivated by beauty wherever we see it. All things have beauty in proportion to their conformity to the radiant form of Jesus, and ugliness, or deformity, emerges when the radiant form of Christ is denied or lost.” – Fr. Dubay from The Evidential Power of Beauty
This is confirmed in Psalm 96:
For GOD is great, and worth a thousand Hallelujahs. His terrible beauty makes the gods look cheap; Pagan gods are mere tatters and rags. GOD made the heavens— Royal splendor radiates from him, A powerful beauty sets him apart. -Psalm 96:5-6 MSG
I use this stragegy in combination with all the other strategies.
For instance, for strategy #2, I use a pretty and colorful picture or graphic, instead of just words for my smartphone wallpaper because I had rather look at something that is pretty than just black and white words.
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” – John Keats
And for strategy #3, I like to use “art” rather than just text because I am naturally drawn to beautiful things, so the LORD taught me to use that to my advantage to help me abide in Christ and help God’s Word to abide in me.
These journals are perfect for Scripture writing! They have one Bible verse on each page, with room for you to write it and/or journal about it. And they are so beautiful with soft, colorful covers and gold foil headings on each page! I also like to use sparkly glitter gel pens in mine, because well, the more sparkly something is, the more beautiful it is, right?
Another thing I have found helpful, related to Strategy #1, is to decorate my space with beautiful Scripture art, which becomes a visual reminder to pause and pay attention to God’s Presence. This can be small cards (created from pretty printables) washi-taped to your mirror or ready-to-hang art prints. wooden signs, or even mousepads.
Abide in Christ Strategy #7 – Coloring
This strategy is my favorite! And with this strategy, you can actually use all the other strategies together with it at the same time, making it very powerful.
I talk about the many benefits of coloring in my blog post, Coloring Books for Adults – Top Ten Reasons Women Entrepreneurs and Busy Moms are Loving Them.
One of the main benefits of coloring is that it can help reduce stress. However, coloring can be so much more than that when you combine it with Scripture because the Word of God is alive and powerful. Coloring Christian coloring pages for adults is one of my favorite ways to renew my mind to the truths in God’s Word.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:2 NKJV
I also find it easier to “hide” God’s Word in my heart when it is presented it in such a beautiful, visual way. And, similar to writing Scripture, when you color it, you will notice things that you never noticed just reading or hearing it.
One of the great things about coloring Christian coloring pages for adults is that it does not require any artistic talent. And there is no right or wrong way to color — just do it however you like. 🙂
And you probably already have some crayons, colored pencils or markers laying around your house or office somewhere that you can use. But if you are curious as to what my favorite tools are, I reveal my top 5 favorites here: My 5 Favorite Coloring Supplies for Adults.
Kimberly D. says of coloring Scripture coloring books for adults: “It is relaxing and brings me closer to God. Coloring helps shut my mind off from the rest of the world!”
Here is how you can combine all 7 strategies to help you abide in Christ:
- Coloring Bible verses can become Selah moments (strategy #1). And not only are the Scriptures filling your subconscious mind (heart) while you are coloring them, but after you finish you can then hang them up in your home so that they become “unavoidable visuals”, utilizing strategy #2.
- You can also take a photo of your colored page and use it with strategy #3 (Make the most of every opportunity) by putting it in your Scripture Picture album on your smartphone.
- I like to use strategy #4 and sing Scripture songs WHILE I am coloring a Bible verse coloring page.
- If you have a pretty coloring page of an object or scene that does not have any words with it, you can use strategy #5 and write the Scripture on the coloring page.
- When you choose color palettes that make you smile and use simple coloring techniques to make a beautiful page, you will be utilizing strategy #6.
To help you get started using these strategies to abide in Christ right away…
The Abide in Christ set includes a coloring page of John 15:4 and one of Psalm 91:1-2. (The Psalm 91 coloring page is a sample page from my book: Delight in the Word of God Devotional Coloring Book/Journal, Volume 1: Favorite Scriptures.)
In conclusion, my dear sister in Christ, I want to encourage you on your journey of abiding in Christ. It’s not always easy, and fear may try to creep in and steal your peace, but remember that you are not alone. We serve a God who is greater than any fear or anxiety that tries to grip our hearts.
Another strategy is to surround yourself with a community of believers. We are not meant to walk this journey alone. Find a group of like-minded individuals who will encourage you, challenge you, and spur you on in your faith. Together, you can grow and abide in Christ, lifting each other up in times of weakness and celebrating victories together.
My friend, I want to assure you that as you embark on this journey of abiding in Christ, you are not alone. God’s grace is sufficient, His love is unfailing, and His Spirit is within you, empowering you to walk this path with confidence.
So let’s choose faith over fear. Let’s step out offensively, armed with the strategies I’ve shared, and watch as fear loses its grip on our lives. Together, let’s abide in Christ, dwelling in His presence, and experiencing the fullness of life that He offers.
May you be filled with His peace, joy, and victory as you abide in Christ today and always.
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