Teach Me To Abide

This special 25th anniversary article, written by Arrow leader Dr. Jody Cross, is a freeing reminder that being led more by Jesus is the true starting point for life and leadership. Who could you encourage by sharing this article?

Years ago I saw a sign on a car belonging to a Christian that said “Make it happen.” That phrase is appealing to Christian leaders. Many of us are driven and all of us want to make a difference in the world for Jesus. There are many times in my walk when I have tried to achieve and succeed in my own strength. I’d like to be powerful enough to make great things happen (that reminds me of Simon the Magician in Acts 8). This manner of living is really all about self-glory. Is it any wonder God in His mercy confronts the “make it happen-ness” in us?

The farther down the road I walk with Jesus, and through many painful lessons, the more I have realized that I can’t make anything happen. I am not large and in charge. I am not the great one. Actually quite the opposite; I am small and weak. Journeying down the road of discipleship with my faithful, sanctifying, ever-patient Lord, I am learning that the poor in spirit are blessed. I am learning that His power is made perfect in my weakness, and I am learning how great and amazing are His deeds (Rev. 15:3)!

Preachers preach sermons that come back around like arrows aimed directly at their own hearts. Songwriters likewise are confronted with the truths in their own lyrics. I am confronted with the call to be led more by Jesus every time I sing a song I wrote called, Teach Me To Abide,

Lord you are the Vine I am a branch

Teach me to abide

Lord I cannot do anything without you

Teach me to abide

Vine and Branches

John 15:1-8 makes it clear that if we are to bear fruit for Jesus, we must first be abiding in Jesus. No abiding, no fruit, no glory to God. I am often reminded that I must rely on the Lord for all things. God is faithfully working to purge “Simon the Magician” from me and return me to the dependent son that I am.

By God’s grace I am learning to trust Him who is large and in charge. I am learning to be more content with not being in control, but letting Him lead. I am resting more in my inability to make anything happen and trusting Him to open the doors that no one can shut.

Proverbs 16:9 reminds us, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” I am not in control of my steps or direction. He is. My faithful Shepherd leads me. I love when God leads me to a situation where I see His grace at work transforming a broken life. I love when He leads me to write a song that will minister to people who need encouragement from the scriptures. I love when Jesus leads me to connect with someone and, in the midst of me trying to build them up, I am the one who is blessed. I love watching God make it happen and glorify His name. Lord Jesus, lead me more into that which will reveal Your glory and bring You glory.

  1. In what areas of your life do you see evidence of trying to “make it happen”? What is the fruit of that driven-ness?
  2. How do you understand the principle of fruit bearing through abiding? How can you strengthen this aspect of your walk with the Lord?
  3. Where have you seen the glorious work of God as He has led you to speak, do or go?

Jody Cross - Picture 1


Dr. Jody Cross is the Worship and Leadership Development Pastor at First Baptist Church Orillia; he’s served in pastoral ministry for 26 years. Jody is also a recording artist with 5 worship CD’s and the author of This Is Our Love: Engaging The Needs of The World Through Worship.

Jody’s passion is to develop worship leaders and resource the church for worship. Jody completed the Arrow Leadership Program with Class 13, and Gordon-Conwell Seminary where he received his D.Min in Christian Leadership. Jody has been married to Alexandra for 27 years. They have 4 children ages 16-22.