The word abide has made an impression on my heart. Many times I’ve pondered what it truly means to abide. I know I am to abide in Christ and my understanding is that abiding means to live with Christ daily but as I am listening to the song, Abide in me, I’m wondering the significance in the choice of the word abide and the need to dig. The song stirs up a longing to do it right. Am I abiding fully? How do I abide correctly? Can I abide wrong? It’s time to explore and know for sure.
Understanding words gives deeper meaning to sentences or in this case, truths. Sometimes we know the general meaning of a word and gloss over it when reading because we get the concept. I believe this is one of those words we need to slow down and understand more. I know in my spirit that if we grasped all of what it meant to abide, our lives would change.
Accept, act in accordance with
Continue with out fading or being lost; to live, to dwell.
Old English: wait, onward
The definition is not far from what I knew; to live, dwell, to accept but as I suspected, there was an important piece missing in my mind. To continue with out fading or being lost leaps off the page, screen actually. As I grow in my faith journey the times I feel lost are less and less but there was a time I often felt lost and was living life by going through the motions. If that is you, there is no shame in that—keep going it will get better. For me, the continue with out fading was a smack in the face. Right now I am tired and have felt the fade, gratefully I am on my way to a conference to refuel and be still. I must get better at that. In my car, I am 100% the wait until the tank is practically empty before filling up kind of person. Apparently, I do this with my soul as well. I go, go, go and then go on fumes till I can make it to refuel. This year, I decided NO MORE…..actually, I’ve decided this AGAIN, this year. This is not a new issue I deal with, but once again I find myself in this place of too busy, too tired and little to give others. Ahhh, I’m laughing at myself, that a little word or not so little word woke me up again.
Do better! Do differently! Abide.
How? How do I do it differently? How does one abide? I go to my Bible app and search abide but I’m in flight so searching doesn’t work. So what do I know? To abide is to live and I know John 15 is about living with Christ. (I am not good at bible references and using a digital Bible doesn’t help. Mostly, I type in the verse I’m looking for and let it tell me the reference or ask my husband who has an incredible memory for knowing what is where in the Bible.) I spent a few months reading and rereading John 15 (so I have that reference down). The first version I read says “Remain in me, and I in you”. I read the chapter and all I learned comes back like an old friend then as I often do, I check another version, ESV, and there it is. ABIDE!
As you know, when writers or speakers want to emphasize something and get a point across they repeat it. They repeat it. The safety instructions on the plane are given once and also on a card to read. The check engine light in my car goes on and stays on until I fix it.
In John 15 with in 8 verses the word abide is used ten times.
10 times shouts that this is something we need to understand and work at until we fix it. We must get this right.
“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.”
John 15:4-11 ESV
TEN times. Again, my nature would be to gloss over a few of these 10 but I can not. There is a reason this word weighs on me, I need to get it. We need to get.
1. I am to dwell in God with out fading and God will dwell in me. God chooses to dwell in me! I know this but it still gets me every time.
2. A branch can only produce fruit while it is attached to the vine.
3. We, the branch, must stay connected to Christ, the vine, in order to produce anything.
4. In case we missed it in the sentence before, Stay in Christ, apart from Christ we can do nothing.
5. When we choose to separate from God, we shrivel, die and eventually are discarded.
6 & 7. There is a huge reward when we stand firm and live in Christ and read and listen to His words. God will show up for us and answer our requests. Our lives glorify God with the good fruit we produce as a result of our obedience and earnestly seeking Christ.
8. He loves us! We are to accept, continue with out fading, live, dwell with in God’s love.
9. If we follow God’s commandments, we will live in God’s love.
10. Jesus set the example for us and followed God’s commandments and dwelled in God’s love and because of this we will have abundant joy.
That is where I want to be! I want to live a life so full I am overflowing with joy. Each day I choose to abide. I abide by staying connected through reading, praying and listening. I abide through worship. I recognize and thank God wherever I may be. What we dwell on and in we become. The natural outpour will be love for others. The love in turn creates joy, abundant joy.
Yes please, I want more joy. Joy so full it pours out onto all those around me.
We must learn to abide, to live unwavering in accordance with and in connection to the vine.