Posted on February 4, 2019 by America's Keswick in Victory Call
What do you think of when you hear the word “abide”? My first thought goes to John chapter 15, the familiar passage on the vine and the branches. I looked up the meaning of the word, and one of the definitions found in Webster’s Dictionary is “to continue in a place, sojourn.” According to biblestudytools.com, the word means: to “await,” “remain,” “lodge,” “sojourn,” “dwell,” “continue,” “endure”.
The word “abide” appears 51 times in the New King James Version of the Bible; more than half are in the New Testament. As a matter of fact, 12 of those uses of the word are in the book of John, and another 15 in 1 John.
In the book of Psalms, it is frequently used as an expression of longing to be in God’s house:
Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? Psalm 15:1
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah Psalm 61:4
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1
It is only as we encounter Jesus in the New Testament do we see the mutual abiding as He shared with the disciples in John 15, Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
There is no longer simply a hunger to abide in God’s presence, but an actual fulfillment of that desire as we are instructed to abide in Him – the living embodiment of God’s temple. And not only that we may abide or dwell in Him, but that He will dwell in us.
When I was maybe 12 or 13, I was introduced to the booklet “My Heart, Christ’s Home” by Robert Boyd Munger. If you’ve never read it, I highly recommend it. It gives the concept of Jesus coming to live in a home and how His presence impacts each room in the house. But the best way to think of it is not that Jesus is a houseguest, but a resident. Not a visitor, but this house is now His home. Think about that. Is Jesus a houseguest in your life, with access to some areas but not all? Or is He free to open the refrigerator, look in the closets, open the medicine chest? (I’m not necessarily pointing those out as problem areas but as places we don’t expect our guests to look.)
When my family comes to visit, they know they can make themselves at home. If they want a drink, or need a towel or roll of toilet paper, they know where to get them. Does Jesus have the same freedom in my “spiritual house” to open any cupboard or door? If He wants to rearrange the furniture, will I object? If He doesn’t want to watch what I’m watching on TV, will I change the channel, or better still, turn it off?
If I limit Him to only certain “rooms”, am I really allowing Him to abide in me? And if He’s not fully abiding in me, am I really abiding in Him?
Our theme verse this year is Galatians 2:20, I am crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me; And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
This ties in so much to the concept of abiding – I no longer live; Christ lives in me. As we say this verse each week at the close of our staff enrichment time, I’ve started to really mull over what it means for Christ to live in me.
These are my early 2019 musings, and are, by no means, finished thoughts. I may end up spending the entire year pondering this. But that’s OK. Hopefully, by December 31st, I’ll have a deeper understanding of what it means to abide, and Jesus may have cleaned out a closet or two.
Written by Ruth Schmidt: Ruth Schmidt has worked at America’s Keswick since 1985. She currently serves as Administrative Assistant to Bill Welte.
Daily Quote: “In my daily walk with Him, He gives me victory as He teaches me how to abide.” – Judy Harrell
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? – Numbers 23:19