Abiding in Jesus is both hard and easy at the same time. It’s hard because even though we have the presence of the Holy Spirit within us as followers of Jesus, we still contend with what Paul calls the flesh nature (Romans 8:5-17). This flesh nature acts contrary to the ways of the Holy Spirit within us, urging us to take control and do things our own way. The great thing about Heaven and ultimately life on the New Earth is that we will be free of this flesh nature-and in the presence of Jesus! In the meantime, though, we wrestle against the influence and pressure off our flesh. Praise Jesus that he gives us everything we need to win this wrestling match!-read 2 Peter 1:3.
From another perspective, though, abiding in Jesus is easy. So easy that it seems counterintuitive when God tells us in Isaiah 30:15, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…” Doesn’t this seem easy?! In fact, repentance is the only hard word in the whole sentence-everything else is rest, quietness, and trust.
It’s our flesh nature that makes this hard. The reality is that abiding in Jesus as described in Isaiah 30 can only be accomplished if we have confidence that the Lord will actually intervene in our daily situations. We must trust the Lord to move in the hearts of people and to intervene in our physical circumstances-we must give him room. This feels wholly unnatural to our flesh nature, which desires control. Therefore, we must make renewing our mind our priority (repent means to change one’s mind) so that we maintain a position of rest, quietness and trust. If we don’t, we won’t be able to rest-we’ll walk in anxiety and even fear. We won’t live in quietness, but will fret and complain during the time between now and when the Lord comes through. We won’t trust him, but will grab the wheel and take control, missing what the Lord has for us.