Thursday, September 9
by Joanne Warman
The word abide expresses the central theme in chapter 15 of the Gospel of John. The relationship of God and Jesus with the community is one of presence and mutuality. In John 15, Jesus says one of His “I am” statements – “I am the vine.” Here Jesus is actually preparing His disciples for His fast-approaching death. He is letting them know that if they remain in Him, even though He is no longer with them physically, He is still with them. Brian G. Hedges in an article I read on Christianity.com suggests that if we truly abide, then three aspects are interwoven into our lives:
1. Connection – this is mutual. We need to abide in Christ in order for Christ to abide in us.
2. Dependence – this is not mutual. Remember a branch is dependent on the vine, not the other way around. The branch derives its life and purpose from the vine.
3. Continuance – this is also mutual. Jesus will abide in us always. Abiding with Jesus is difficult. Staying and learning from Jesus is a life-long process. The good news is by abiding we gain the energy and strength we need to do so. If you believe in Jesus, you are in him. You are united to him. You are connected to the life-giving branch. But no matter where you are on your spiritual journey, you can experience the reality of this connection to Jesus more and more.
Openbible.info claims to have 100 bible verses on abiding in Christ. I did not read this article, but am including it in this thought as a resource. Another site claimed to have 115 benefits to abiding in Christ. I am sure if you go into Google you will find these and many other sites to check out. Remember though, just because it is on Google doesn’t make it true!
Theprayerwarrior.com claims that if we abide in Christ we will never feel lonely, our confidence will increase, we will be happy all the time and live a life without anxiety. Although in theory this sounds great, I am not sure it is totally possible. I admit to being a happy person and I agree that my relationship with Jesus is the source of this happiness but I still struggle with anxiety and my confidence. To be fair this site also said that if we abide in Christ we will begin to think like Christ, speak like Christ, act like Christ and love like Christ. That is a goal Christians should all aspire to.
It was never God’s intention for us to be unhappy here on earth waiting for heaven where we will be truly happy. He wants us to be happy now but in order for that to happen we must align our wants with what God wants and that will only happen if we abide in Him.
Jesus is saying to us: don’t run ahead of me, don’t lag behind me, simply abide in me!
Here are some verses about “abiding” for you to read:
- John 15:4-10
- 2 John 1:9
- I John 2:6, 24, 27, 28
- 1 John 3:24
- John 14:17
- I John 4:13
God of love, plant us in the soil of your grace. Nurture us with the strength of Christ, the vine of everlasting life. Enlighten us with the wisdom of your Spirit, which flows through us today and all days. Abide in us, that we may abide in you and live in your love. In your holy name, we pray. Amen.
~ Adapted from The Abingdon Worship Annual 2012. Posted on the Worship Elements page of the Ministry Matters website.