Abide: to dwell, to remain, to stay, to wait for
I often wonder, Lord am I doing this? Am I hitting the mark? Am I living this definition, as it is defined and used in this passage? Abide is such a deep and resonating word. Intimate even. If I truly am seeking and applying this with God, what’s the trouble?
For me, I think it comes down to really resonating with its meaning and then the desire that comes when I BELIEVE it. When I abide in Him, HE abides in me. All His truth, His ways, His goodness, and more. Now THAT is a place I want to be and never leave. Doesn’t that sound amazing? That’s the place where hope, joy, love, and peace abound. I mean, it’s kind of endless, right?
Now wait a minute…
Believe … Not to be overly focused on details here, but it kind of begs a question. If I believe that God’s Word is true, then I believe IT. ALL OF IT. So the question is, do I really believe? Well yes! Of course. Ok, just had to put that out there for a second, but stay with me.
So IF I believe that God is who He says He is, and the Bible is His Word, then I also believe that when Jesus, God’s only Son said, “he who abides [remains] in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (v. 5, emphasis mine). Then that also means that— IT IS TRUE! AND I need to live like it.
I mean, let’s face it, I have my moments of self-centeredness and believing I can do everything on my own. Sometimes even thinking, I want to do everything on my own. However, it rarely ends well, and I often find myself flat on my face, thinking why did I just go through that!? UGH! Thank the Lord for His patience and grace for me! When I am truly abiding/remaining, I find myself in these self-focused moments less. And you know, there is also that part in the passage that says, “apart from me, you can do nothing” (v. 5).
I think that means abiding shouldn’t be a place we go visit; it should be a place to live and remain. An Abiding Place.
Yet, in a world that has things to do, people to see, families to be supported, checklists to be accomplished, and responsibilities that seem endless, it's easy to slowly lose our focus or place of dwelling with the Lord. Our mind can start to focus on all the “things,” and before we know it, we aren’t connected or abiding anymore. It seems like an age-old challenge. We must remember that our invitation to relationship with Christ includes the gift of having access and connection to Him 24/7. This is our sufficiency; this is the place we can experience God’s love and become more like Him.
You may be thinking, “hold on, 24/7 is a lot of time.” Yes, I know. However, when I say this to you, I am not saying that you must be walking around everyday or every moment with a Bible in your hand studying. Nor am I suggesting that you should stop everything you’re doing all day everyday to meditate in a manner that does not include living your life and doing all the things that God has put before you to do. He has given those things to you.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)
What I am asking you to consider is when you wake up in the morning, do you invite the Lord to go with you on your day's journey? He is there.
When you review all the things on your list for the day or week, do you take a moment to give all the “things” to God and then trust that what needs to be done will get done? He is with you in all those things.
Are you taking moments (long or short) in the day-to-day to be encouraged by His truth and be actively aware of the Holy Spirit within you?
When you live daily with an awareness of Him, aligning your heart with His, that is abiding in Him.
The fruit of a life lived through abiding leads to an abundance of fruit, and that fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, self-control, humility, and compassion. These are the characteristics that give us what we need for all those “things” in our lives. This brings glory and honor to God.
Is that hard for you? It seems hard for me sometimes. 2 Corinthians 12:9,10 says,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (ESV).
So how do we do this?
First, take time each day to focus on God’s word, listen to & talk to Him, obey His commands.
Evaluate where you really are when it comes to abiding.
Take time and reflect on those things.
Read through all of this section in John 15, and continue to seek the Lord. He is right there waiting.
Then, take the next step: Abide.
Erin Nonaka is a Co-Founder and the Director of Communications and Community at Humble Faith Ministries. She is an experienced worship leader, Bible teacher, and encourager of women. She currently lives in Florida with her husband and two of her three sons.