I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides I me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing…If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Abiding is a simple concept with deep implications. From the beginning, human life was created to have a home. God placed our original parents in a garden and due to sin they, and the entire human race along with them, were cast out to be wanderers across the face of the earth, and the trend has continued to this day. There is no sweeter word in the English language than “home,” yet we do not find our true home apart from Christ. In Him we find the rest, the security, the meaning, and the identity which our hearts crave. To abide with Him or in Him means more than tarrying, or remaining for a while. It means to be at home in Him, and to find no other home other than Him.
It is assumed that those who abide in a family will share the same values and character, and it is certainly to be that way in the family of Christ. His character shapes ours. He makes no pledge to answer our selfish desires if we make only some pretense of affection for, knowledge of, and faith in Him. Rather we are to abide in Him as a Savior, as a Master, as our Lord, and let His words make their home in our hearts. This is a promise for those who walk with Him closely – even for those who are joined in heart and soul to Him and His purposes.
When that is the case, then we begin to think like Him, to feel like Him, and to want the things He wants. It is similar to the words of Psalm 37:4:”Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” God can trust the prayer requests of the one who delights himself in God.
So slow down long enough to consider the holiness and love of Christ. Remain in His presence. Put aside distractions. Turn off the television, go into your room, be still before Him. Read His Word, especially the gospels, and listen to His Spirit. Meditate on the cross and the sufferings of Christ for your sin and for the sin of the world. “Consider him who endured such opposition of men so that you will not grow weary or lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3). Then take the matters that He places on your heart to Him in prayer and wait for Him to answer them in His timing and in His way.
And we take Christ into our hearts’ counsels, just as He takes us into His. At all seasons, in all settings, in joy and sorrow, in struggle and in triumph, in sickness and in health, in friendships and in abandonments – the Lord abides with His disciple and His disciple with Him. The will and temperament of Christ is no static, staid, dead reality, but living, vibrant, steady but never removed from our need to the point that it is unfit for our moments of life. He is distant from the corruption of the world, but never aloof from its hurts and concerns. The very notion of “the eternal God in human form” tells us that though unchanging and eternally the same, part of His eternal nature retains an element of flexibility and relevance for every situation. He is dynamic and not static, alive and not inanimate, loving and not indifferent, calling and inviting and not removed and cold.
In every station of life, in every condition of health, in every emotional state, we find in Him life and hope, comfort and command, strength and companionship, wisdom and love.
Lord, teach us in our hearts to know You and to love You. Show us Your beauty and holiness. Lead us to daily times of confession and cleansings, that we might have our home with You. Show us Your will that we might ask for this to be done on earth. Amen.