A recurring theme in my life over the past year seems to be the concept of “abiding.” Last summer I did the Naptime Diaries Abide (#NTDAbide) devotional / journal, and now as I’m working my way through the latest bible study by Kelly Minter, What Love Is, this theme has yet again re-emerged. And I’m a believer that when God brings up a concept more than once, it’s important to listen and take heed of what He’s working to reveal through what He’s speaking.
So, God … Abide. What’s this all about?
According to Kelly Minter’s study, the word “abide” derives from the Greek work “meno,” which can mean: “not to depart; to continue; to be present; to be held, kept; continually; to continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure (as referenced in the Blue Letter Bible).”
The concept of “abiding” is discussed thoroughly in John 15 where Jesus teaches,
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. … 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 (vs. 1, 4-5, ESV).”
It is reiterated again in 1 John 2 where John teaches,
“Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us – eternal life. … The anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him (vs. 24-25, 27, ESV).”
As I ponder these verses and reflect on the times where I know I’ve been abiding in the grace, love, and Word of Jesus, this is what I believe God is confirming to me …
1) My life does not “work” when I am not abiding in Him. When I am not walking with God (seeking Him, following Him, trusting Him, giving things over to Him), life is a lot harder and I do not receive the best that I am free to have in Him, and that He indeed promises to give me. (see Psalm 37:4)
2) Two things are the mentioned in John 15: I abide in Him, He abides in me. So, if I’m not abiding in Him, I’m not allowing myself the full satisfaction of Him abiding in me. To think of the things I’m missing out on because of this is sad. I don’t want to miss out on anything that He has for me, because anything He has for me is better than I could ever imagine. (see Ephesians 3:20)
3) Abiding in Him leads to peace and rest. This I have experienced and know for myself. When my gaze is set on the mountains before me – the hardships, problems, and trials – and I’m consumed by the difficulties of life, I am not abiding in Him and as a result, I experience anxiety, doubt, fear, pain, and sorrow. Granted, life with God doesn’t mean an absence of these things, but abiding with God sure does squelch the level of power the mountains have over my heart, mind, and life. (see Psalm 23 and Philippians 4:4-9)
4) This world is constantly changing and in flux, but one thing remains the same forever – the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s the one thing in this life that is unchanging, despite many people’s attempts to change it, add to it, denounce it, etc. It stands the test of time, forever and ever, amen. If there’s anything, or rather anyone, I’m going to put my faith in – it’s Him and His Word. (see Hebrews 13:8 and 1 Peter 1:25)
God’s timing for this message could not be any more perfect. Last year I was focusing on abiding during a time of increased challenge and stress. This year I’m focusing on abiding during a time of change – in both season and work. God is speaking to me, reminding me to ABIDE in Him. To REMAIN in Him. To walk STEADY with Him. To be PRESENT with Him. And let Him do the rest. No need to control, to try to save myself by works alone. But to look to Him and keep my confidence and trust in Him. Period.
So that’s what I’m choosing to do. I’m choosing to abide. And it’s not a one-time thing, but a way of life. Each and every day.
I love this quote from Kelly Minter …
“We have a responsibility to allow the good news of Jesus, rooted in Scripture, to abide in us richly and in a way that will literally affect the way we live our lives. We need to actively foster this message of hope and truth in our hearts.”
And I’d like to take it a step further and say that as we abide in Him and His Word that we should live in such a way that not only affects our lives but the lives of those around us – making an impact on this world for His Kingdom and being an influence for His glory.
So let’s take God at His Word and abide in Him.
Let’s let Him do the rest of the work as He promises to do.
And let’s allow this process to change us.
For the better. For the good it will produce in our life and in our world.