There’s some popular “phraseology” in the Church today. Words like “Encounter” or “experience” or “manifesting” keep popping up. This is nothing new (and, unfortunately, some of it is more new age in application and origin than we might think!). These phases, fads and similar things happen in every era because we want to follow Popular Christian Culture rather than abide in Christ. Jesus desires more than an encounter with us. An Encounter is (usually) a one time event. He desires more than an experience with us, as an experience is usually a dressed up event. Jesus wants us to abide in Him.
Loved ones, it may not always be exciting, and our actual encounters and experiences with Jesus may not even be what we realize until after (sometimes well after) we are past them. Yet, when we abide in Jesus, when we seek Him out, when we live in the Scriptures, when we seek to follow Jesus’ example in our lives, we abide in Christ. And these actions transcend singular events and encounters. Loved ones, Jesus said “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24). And Jesus showed us how to pick up a cross. It may not be a literal one, but, since Jesus lived, died, and rose again for us, we must, daily, die to ourselves, and live in and for him. We must lose our lives, and live completely in Him. It is difficult, but in His name, by the Holy Spirit and through the Word, He will keep us firm in Him.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 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. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.