A friend who faithfully reads the Journey and often sends me back her thoughts (which I dearly love hearing), mentioned that we often confuse “abide” with “abode.” I was so thankful to see this in print because it was an aha! moment for me.
Because yet again I thought I understand the word and no, I don’t.
Abode in my mind is my house, which is very much true..but again the linguists have left a rabbit trail for the “house” of which we abide in…is temporary.
Again we find that our abode is a place where we wait…stay…an active kind of remaining in one place.
So we understand that abiding, dwelling, remaining is not a stagnate state but instead a waiting full of activity.
As a sojourner we are making a place of stopping, while always doing the work required in that place and readying ourselves to move on in the same way.
Which leaves me yet again at the question, what does it mean to “abide” in Christ and Him in me…what does it look like, this place of remaining?
There are several references in Scripture that allude to the answer:
Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples.” John 8:31
Anyone who does not remain in Christ’s teaching but goes beyond it does not have God. The one who remains in that teaching, this one has both the Father and the Son. 2 John 9
It would seem that abiding in Him and Him in me involves me continuing to study and apply His teachings. Every single time you and I listen to a sermon, study through one of the many lessons available to us online and through our churches, follow a rabbit trail through Scripture or ponder what we read that morning and pray for God to show us how to live it…we are abiding/remaining/sojourning in Him and Him in us.
The one who says he is in the light but hates his brother or sister is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother or sister remains in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother or sister is in darkness, walks in the darkness, and doesn’t know where he’s going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 1 John 1: 8-11
If anyone has this world’s goods and sees a fellow believer in need but withholds compassion from him – how does God’s love reside in him? Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in action and in truth. 1 John 3: 17-18
Abiding in Him and Him abiding in us should be stirring up love and compassion for our brothers and sisters in Christ. We live in a world where not agreeing with someone is equated with hating them. This is not the case.
Don’t let the propaganda of political correctness override the truth that love has nothing to do with agreeing with people. Affirming everyone’s “truth” in order to keep peace and harmony is not love.
However, neither is spouting Truth and slinging arrows hither and yon, in the name of Jesus.
Look deeply into either of those passages and you will see the hard work of overcoming our human preferences for people and loving them as God does.
I heard a quote this week about an avowed atheist who said he had no respect for Christians who didn’t openly share their faith. He said basically, if you believe that Jesus saves and you are unwilling to share that because of fear, than you don’t really love as you say He loved.
Abiding means that I live in how God loves and I let His love live in me and override my preconceived notions about what His work might look like in someone else’s life.
If someone is a believer, whether I agree, like, prefer, would choose to have coffee with them once a week or not….every time I fight off my flesh and love that one well, I abiding in Him and He is abiding in me.
Truly praying for people is often the starting point for that place of love and compassion to be fueled with the power of God’s Spirit in me. Actions flow as he guides me in how to speak truth, act in truth, and love those He has placed with me on the journey.
If you want a little study exercise to do, look up the passages that include the word “abide” and “remain” and start listing what God’s word describes this to look like in daily life. Then meditate and pray for Him to show you how to do it better.
I will be back with my own discovery tomorrow…hope you join me <3