Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Abiding - Week One

 Fifty Bible Words is my first attempt at a completed work. Each week I will post a group of five short devotions from various Scriptures all centered around a specific Bible word.

“Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle?  Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?”  Psalm 15:1

An abode is a place.  It may be temporary or permanent, a tent or a house, tangible or intangible.  Vine’s Expository Dictionary gives twelve variations for the meaning of abide or abiding.
The first definition has the idea of continuing, not only in a place, but also for a time.  The further definitions indicate that the place may call for perseverance and constant resistance.  Steadfastness, longsuffering, and persistent loyalty are all qualities that define the word “Abide”.

In John chapter fifteen the Bible speaks of us abiding in Christ.
When we compare this to the indicated qualities derived from the definitions we can see that abiding in Christ is not merely
sitting in his living room.  It is a place of action, a place of conflict and of supreme devotion.

To abide in Christ may be illustrated by considering what we actually do when we abide, what we have around us in our abode, how we care for our abode and the qualities that are a part of the action of abiding. These qualities reveal our attitude and determine the benefit we derive from the action of abiding.

If we are actively abiding in Christ we will have an inward desire to be with Him. There will be excitement with great anticipation to get home to Him if we are away. We will have assurance of comfort and a warm familiarity that will bring joy and peace.  We will agree and act upon the old adage, “There is no place like home.”

Does that describe your relationship with Christ?


“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you…”  John 15:7

Let’s take a look at what is around you. What do you have? Creature comforts?  Family heirlooms?  Significant others?  Things that define you?  Treasures you hold dear?  Extra stuff?  Cluttered closets?  New and used furniture?  Etc.

Now, consider: if it all disappeared what would remain?  Are you truly defined by the household things around you, or do you have intangible, eternal treasures?

Our life on earth is temporary, very temporary.  It will pass away.  For all the effort and love put into making the place you call home, it is not eternal.  On the other hand, you are eternal.  Your soul will live forever.  The “home of the soul” is not only a place, but also an eternal time zone.

Think about it.  If you paid as much attention to the quality and care of your soul as you do to your temporal abode, would you not be abiding in Christ in a fuller fashion?  Would you not enjoy deeper fellowship and joy?  Would not the inward abiding be reflected in your outward abode?  It is really odd to live inside out.  Better check.  If your heart is outside your soul, you are unhealthy and in real danger.  See Matthew 6:21

However, if you can recognize that the tangible things around you are temporal and that your physical home is not your true riches, you are is a much better state.  The qualities of love, peace, joy, security, contentment, God’s Word hidden in the heart and a working knowledge of your stand in Christ are much firmer foundations for abiding and much richer treasures than the ornaments around you.

Where are you abiding in a temporal house, or in an eternal home?


If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you…”  John 15:7

This form of abiding has to do more with action than with a place.  The word, “if”, indicates that it is a choice.  We choose to “abide in Christ”, or, we choose not to.

The action of abiding is illustrated again by our own lives.  To abide in the active form means that we live in a place.  We eat there.  We sleep there.  We dream there.  It is the place where we retreat and find refuge.  Abiding also means that we care not only for the furnishing of the abode, but for the attitudes and actions that happen within that abode.

If we apply this to our “abiding in Christ”, we will see that our choice to abide necessitates our activity with Christ.  Either he dwells with us, or he does not.  If he is invited to be a part of our lives we will involve him in our decision, in our joys, in our sorrows, in all that makes up our abiding.  Christ will be the central theme of our lives.

The abiding is also mutual.  If we will choose to abide in Christ, he will choose to abide with us.  “He that abideth in me, and I in him…” (Verse 5)  Christ will not force his way into our lives.  We must initiate the invitation. He stands at the door and knocks.

Have you invited him in?  He is the only way of salvation. 

Are you abiding in him?  He is the only way of sanctification. 


“…He that abideth in me…bringeth forth much fruit.”  John 15:5

The Bible has many illustrations about how a person cares for their home or farm or life.  If we apply these to “abiding” we can see some examples on how we should abide.

The woman in Proverbs 31 looked well to the ways of her household.  She put in the long nights.  She prepared herself and anticipated the difficulties ahead.  She knew the value of a well run home.  She was very involved with her abiding.

The husbandman also puts in the long hours of ploughing and planting.  He watches the weather and harvests in the right time and stores his grain for the future.  His abiding is organized and deliberate.

The parable of the woman who lost a coin shows that she swept her house until she found the coin that was so valuable to her.  Her diligence produced rejoicing.

These three examples alone show that we must put ourselves into the process or activity of abiding in order to be productive.  Remember the definitions from the first devotion?  “…the place may call for perseverance and constant resistance.  Steadfastness, longsuffering, and persistent loyalty are all qualities that define the word “Abide”.”

There is actually hard work involved in abiding.  And why should we be surprised? Anything of real value has a price.

So, are you willing to do your spiritual homework? Are you keeping your spiritual abode garnished and clean?  Do you place real value on it?  Do you see it sparkle and shine or are there some dusty mirrors and cobwebs in the corner?


“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you…”  John 15:7

What do you do in your abode?  Eat, sleep, laugh, cry, retreat, rise up and lie down, work, sing, play, dress, prepare, etc.? 

From our abodes we do life.  So, should it be in our spiritual life, and not to divorce the two, for both are a part of the other.  Acts 17:25 & 28 “…seeing he giveth to all life, and breath and all things…for in Him we live and move, and have our being…”

So to abide in Christ is to be drawing from the source of life to empower us to live.  We feed upon His Word.  We rest in His promise.  We rejoice in His love.  We pour out our heart before Him.  We find solace.  We begin the day with Him and end the day with Him.  We serve.  We sing.  We even play knowing recreation and restoration of spirit are His gifts.  We put on the full armour of God and stay vigilant and prepared to stand and to serve.

Colossians 1:10-12 & 16-18 “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; giving thanks unto the Father…For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible…all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head… that in all thing HE MIGHT HAVE THE PREEMINENCE.”

Christ is our life.  And if we abide in him the promise of John 15:7 is….”ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.  Do you abide close enough to claim the promise?

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