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This year I want to focus on abiding in Christ. I want to abide in scripture, by the Holy Spirit and in the Lord. I am making “abide” my word of the year for 2022. After years of getting my degree in Religion: Christian Leadership obtaining the head knowledge of scripture and Christian doctrine, I feel the need to work on connecting my head knowledge to heart knowledge. I love the Lord, but I feel I can do work on gaining a deeper relationship with Him. I spent much of my time in the Word for schoolwork yet not enough for my personal relationship. My schoolwork and the knowledge I have gained has given me a sense of awe at our Lord while also driving my hunger for more of the Lord. I’m hungry for the Lord and His Word this year more so than before and have felt the word “abide” on my heart for this year so we are going to take a deeper look at its definition and how it is used in scripture followed by Biblical examples of abiding and how we can apply this knowledge to our personal lives. Also note that “Abide” is a verb, the Christian life is all about action - us doing our part in God’s master plan. Abiding will help us live a dynamic faith.
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary Abide is a verb that means (1) to bear patiently (2) to endure without yielding and (3) to accept without objection. The Merriam Webster dictionary also gives us the definition for "abide by" which is defined as follows: (1) to conform to and (2) to accept without objection. Both of these definitions, though for the same word just different forms are important for living the Christian life. The Christian life is not all “peaches and cream”, we have difficulties just like every other person, the big difference is that we get to do life with Christ and have the hope and help of the Holy Spirit. With that being said we must “endure without yielding” in our lives. We must endure all the things of this world without yielding to the temptation to disregard our faith when things get tough. We have to “accept without objection” that God’s will is what is best for our lives and in order to know His will full well we must remain in relationship with Him. I appreciate that I took the time to look at the definitions of “abide by” because it means to “conform to”. As a Christian, a true believer in Christ, we ought to conform to the teachings of His Word and follow His ways not the ways of this world as stated in Romans 12:2 – “Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].” This verse tells us exactly what we are NOT supposed to conform to (or abide by) – the world and its ways and tells us that we must renew our minds and we do this by conforming to (or abiding by) God’s Word – His Truth. The Christian’s authority is God’s Word, not the world thus we must abide by it. Abiding means to conform to God, His Truth, and the way He says which we ought to live.
The Hebrew term for abide is “yashabh” which means to dwell. Upon further reading I noticed one of Strong’s definitions for this term is to marry. I find this definition useful because when we are married to someone, we abide by them, we dwell with them, learn the way they do things, and so many other different things about them which is what the Christian is to do with the Trinity. We also know that the relationship between Christ and the Church is compared to husband and wife as Paul states in Ephesians 5:22-24 which states: “For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.” As wives submit to their husbands the church submits to Christ – this is the marriage dynamic. If abide also means “to marry” and to marriage is about submission, then the Christian must submit to God and His authority in order to truly abide. Abiding in Christ means to submit to Him and His ways. Also note that the scripture says to submit in everything; we do not get to pick and choose what we would like to submit to when it comes to the Lord, we submit to Him in everything. Viewing the definition of Abide in terms of marriage helps to clarify what it means for the Christian to properly abide in Christ and Scripture. The Biblical view of marriage clarifies what abiding should look like in our relationship with God.
The Greek term for abide is “meno” which means to remain. This term is defined as the following (1) to remain, abide (a) to continue to be present (b) to be held, kept, continually and (2) to wait for, await one. I appreciate these definitions for the Greek term because it clarifies the need to remain in God, to be present with God, and to be held or kept by God. When we are abiding in our Lord, we are continually being present with Him and by being present with God throughout all our moments of every day we are being held by Him. When we abide in Christ, we are allowing Him to hold us, we are being kept by the keeper of the world. This should bring each Christian a sense of peace, abiding in Christ will grant us peace that surpasses all understanding. To “meno” in Christ is to be present with Christ as He holds us in His arms as we allow Him to orchestrate our life. Abiding in Christ means to trust and leave our life in His hands, lifting burdens from our shoulders that we are not meant to carry. The second definition of “meno” stated to “await one”. I particularly like this statement because a Christian is supposed to live expectantly of Christ’s second coming. If we are abiding as we should we are purposefully awaiting Christ’s coming in glory and will be ready for that time to come instead of fearfully awaiting that day unsure of our fate on that day. No, if we abide, we await His second coming with upmost confidence in Him and our fate of eternity with Him and all of heaven. Abiding in Christ is expectantly waiting on Christ.
In the New Testament we see God abiding with us in John 14:23 - Jesus answered, If a person [really] loves Me, he will keep My word [obey My teaching]; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home (abode, special dwelling place) with him. He is waiting for us to abide with Him. If we abide in Christ by showing our love to Him through our obedience, we are making room for God to abide with us. Obedience opens the door for our spirit and temple of our body to act as the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit (His abode). The following chapter holds the key passage for the term abide within 15:1-10. Verse 4 says, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” Abiding in this passage means to be “continually connected to Christ”. This scripture tells us that we cannot be fruitful unless we are continually connected with Christ. Abiding with Christ only yields us benefits. Life is more difficult when we are choosing to keep Christ at a distance. Verse 5 continues on to say that we can do nothing without Christ. We have everything to gain by abiding in Christ. It is through Christ that our life has meaning and gains its greater purpose. Acts 17:27-28 says, “So that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after Him and find Him, although He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being; as even some of your [own] poets have said, For we are also His offspring.”” This passage states that Christ is not far from us and living through Him - placing our identity in Him is where we gain our very being. Clearly abiding in Christ only benefits us. We need to stop being so stubborn in living by our own rules and in our won worlds so we can live the full life that God wants for us. By abiding in Christ, we will begin to desire the things God wants for our life and He will bring them to fruition.
The benefits of abiding in Christ as seen in John chapter 15 are: (1) producing fruit (2) fulfilled requests (3) being a true disciple of Christ who brings glory to God (4) remaining in God’s love (5) joy that will overflow (6) being deemed a friend of Christ (7) living as a chosen one of Christ and (8) being able to use Christ’s name in prayer and petition. When we abide in Christ and by the Word of God we have joy and authority. We are chosen to be set apart and sanctified for the glory of God – abiding in Christ allows us to live out our lives as such. Abiding is obedience. Abide is given as an instruction within John 15 and as with any commandment it is given for our own good and we get to reap the many benefits that come with living according to God – living a life that brings Him glory.
Not only did Christ instruct us to abide, but He also led by example. Jesus taught us how to abide by being obedient unto the Father, knowing scripture and through prayer. All these actions are essential to abide in Christ – knowing God’s Word, being obedient unto His Word, and being in communion with the Holy Trinity through prayer. Christ’s ultimate example and act of obedience was being obedient to death on a cross. This was not something He wanted to do when He felt the pain in that moment, but through submitting Himself to the will of the Father He died on the cross to pay for the debt of our sins. Philippians 2:8 says, “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” He demonstrated knowing God’s Word by teaching it and applying it. He demonstrated He knew scripture by utilizing it as a weapon to combat Satan’s temptation in Matthew 4. Throughout the gospels we see multiple examples of Christ leaving the crowd to find a quiet spot alone so that He could pray to His Father. Matthew 14:23 emphasizes Christ’s solitude with the Father when it states: “After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.” Christ demonstrated that for us to truly abode in Him we need to have alone time with Him. God wants an intimate relationship with us, our spirits already desire this so why deprave ourselves of solitude with God. Seeing the amount of times Christ sought out solitude only emphasizes the great need for me to do so as well. My mom would cover herself with a blanket in her room to alienate distractions when she sought solitude with our Father, Christ found a quiet place in nature, and I still need to figure out what will work for me. What will help you find solitude with God and allow you to truly abide in Him? I encourage you to go on this journey with me, let’s seek our God out like never before.
To abide in Christ is to develop an intimate relationship with Him through prayer, the reading of His Word, and obedience. To abide in Christ is to fully live the Christian life. I look forward to growing in how I abide in Christ this year so that I may experience the fullness of this life that God wants for me, so that my life may glorify Him. I can bear no fruit without the vine.
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