|Posted on February 7, 2020 at 8:20 AM|
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Focus Verse: 1 John 2:5-6 ESV “but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”
The month of February is Heart Month. If you followed me last year, I ran a series of memes with #COMMITYOURHEART. This year, I bring you a Commit Your Heart series of blog posts.
One of the lessons I’ve learned over the past three years through my illness is to weed out tasks and obligations that are less important in my life. Sometimes, I find myself stuck in bed due to fatigue and pain. I have to rest. In those moments, I remember my Word of the Year: Abide. In what or Whom? In Christ. Seriously, I am more of a Martha than a Mary (Luke 10:38-42). On any given day, you will see me scurry around trying to get everything done on my To-Do List. I can’t scurry around when I am down in bed. I have to slow down and abide in Christ. As I’ve come to spend more time abiding, I can see how I can abide in Christ as I churn through my To-Do List — abiding in Christ envelopes all of our being permeating all of the aspects of our lives. Let’s look at what it means to abide in Christ and how it plays out in daily living.
Digging Into God’s Word
Most people think of the famous John 15 passage that defines the word abide, which means to remain in or with Christ. Just as a branch on a grapevine must stay firmly attached to the vine with its roots drawing up life-sustaining nutrition and water, we must remain in—abide in– Him. This teaching of Jesus is indeed essential, but I’ve covered it a few times in the past. Feel free to read it for yourself. This time, I want to show you what happens when we abide in Christ.
Our primary passage, 1 John 2, gives us a clear view of what it means to abide in Chris as taught by Jesus. Abide appears ten times in the English Standard, New King James, and King James translations. In the New International Version, the word remain is used in its place. Think of the term abode meaning home. We could easily see this passage as saying, if we make our home with Christ, we will observe these results.
In response to the salvation we have by His shed blood, we are to obey His commandments. The longer we abide, or live with Him, the more we live like Him. It isn’t something instantaneous, but a process. If and when we do sin, Jesus Christ advocates for us to God the Father. The more mature we become in our faith, the more like Christ we live.
Paul uses contrasts, but I will set aside the negatives for this study, that we might see what happens in our abiding in Christ. The light of Christ dwells in us as He is the Light. Not in a New Age sense as in energy presence. Jesus, the Word, illuminates our way in life. His teachings inform our thinking and actions. His Word becomes part of us.
When we know Christ as our Savior, our sins are forgiven. We come to know God in our childlike faith, and then we become strong. We can resist the evil one by resisting temptation as we grow and mature. In our mature years, we come to know Him on a more profound level as we age. All of this happens because He abides in, resides in, us. We are in a continual growth process in our relationship with Jesus Christ that leads to greater maturity spiritually.
A new Heaven and new Earth are created for those who know Jesus as their Savior to live forever with God (ESV.org). In Revelation 6:14; Revelation 20:11; Revelation 21:1; Matthew 24:35, all of the passages refer to the old heaven and old earth passing away, that is, ends. Only those who abide in Christ will live forever with Him; therefore, we shall not love this world.
As those who are anointed, meaning set apart for Christ, we have His knowledge. He makes things known to us that non-believers will not understand. In John 17:6-18, Jesus talks to God the Father, about His disciples and those who will believe because of their testimony. He has protected them, and made known to them His word, and asks for them to be able to resist the Evil One. They are sanctified in truth, meaning they have been cleansed to go out, set apart—anointed—to share His truth in a world that hates them because it hates Jesus. We are those who believe because of His disciples’ testimony. We are anointed—set apart—to share His Word in this world who will hate us because it hates Him. We can resist the Evil One because He asked God the Father to enable us to do so. We have His understanding, His knowledge because we abide in Him. We receive eternal life.
Jesus says that we will not shrink back in shame at His coming when we abide in Him (v.v. 28-29). Something will happen at that time that will make it difficult for those who bear His Name to stand. Could it be due to the anti-Christs who are opposed to Jesus? Very possibly so. Instead, we may be able to stand confident, boldly, His. In Matthew 11:25-28, we will get tired and worn down, but Jesus offers us rest.
Take It Home
As believers in Christ, who abide in Him, we have many blessings that come from our deep relationship with Jesus:
- We have a relationship with God, the Father because we are His children.
- We will be strong and resist the Evil One.
- We have His knowledge and understanding of His Word.
- We are anointed to share His Word even in the face of opposition.
- We will remain strong in adversity, unashamed at His coming.
- We have eternal life with Him on the New Earth.
- Everyone will know we are His.
- We have salvation and our sins forgiven.
- We will love each other with His love.
- We have rest because Jesus offers us rest.
Abiding in Christ has its challenges but comes with rewards beyond measure. We abide in Christ because we have accepted His death on the cross for the payment of our sin, and He lives in us today. We are called to read and obey His Word, living His teachings every day. We’ve been anointed to share His Word with others, even when it isn’t popular to do so. We’ve been called to stand firm to the very end, resisting the temptations of Satan, because we have been strengthened by God to stand firm. We may have an intimate relationship with God as we mature in our faith. We must remove the distractions to abide in Him.
Live It Out
Show that His Word lives in you by living a life free of sin by living according to Jesus’ teachings from the Bible. Read the Bible and prayerfully consider what you’ve read means for your life. Put what you learn from the Bible into practice. When you do sin, repent– turn away– from the sin you’ve committed. Recognize sin for what it is and admit what you’ve done to the Lord. Ask Him and those you’ve offended to forgive you for what you’ve done. Make a plan to avoid committing this particular sin again. You will overcome evil by remaining Christ. You will become wise and confident. You will be secure in your faith. Nothing will shake it. You will know, not just know about God, having a strong relationship with Him because of your abiding faith in Jesus Christ.
This means that things of this world won’t draw you away from God, rather to Him. You won’t be tempted to follow anything other than Him, pursuits that keep us too busy for Him, nor those things that He doesn’t want us to do. We will be less like Martha and more like Mary.
Make Your Commitment
What about you? What distracts you from your Savior and Lord? I would like to challenge you to Commit Your Heart to Christ, who laid His life down for you and rose from the dead to offer you a New Life. Abide in Him today. Will you do so right now?
May God bless you!
The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®;). ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
NKJV Study Bible Copyright 1997, 2007 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.