Abide – just one little word and yet it contains so much of the secret to truly following Jesus!
‘Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.’
If we don’t abide in Jesus we won’t bear fruit, it really is that simple!
So what does abide mean? It’s the Greek word menō which is translated in several different ways. Here are some of the meanings and biblical uses of the word menō…
Abide, remain, tarry, not to depart, to continue to be present, to be held, to be kept continually, to remain as one, not to become another or different. Endure, continue, to maintain unbroken fellowship, Knit to Christ by the spirit we have received from Him. To cleave to or hold fast.
Does this describe our relationship with Christ?
The same Greek word is used by Matthew when recording the events in the garden of Gethsemane and it’s translated as ‘tarry ye.’
‘Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.’
Tarry ye, abide!
But the disciples couldn’t watch, they soon fell asleep. Jesus returns and says to Peter, ‘What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’
The spirit was willing but the flesh was weak and again they fell asleep while Jesus was crushed and in agony as He battled with the forces of darkness alone in that garden.
‘Watch and pray…’ They couldn’t watch without prayer because they needed God’s help and neither can we. Jesus asked them to abide with Him but we can’t abide alone, we need God’s help there too.
To abide, to tarry with Jesus we need to watch against temptation and to watch we need God’s help which comes through prayer.
We can only abide in Christ as we’re wholly dependent upon God to help us through the inward working of the Holy Spirit.
And this is what true abiding is. Not just the place each true Believer has in Christ positional but walking it out moment by moment, day by day.
Not just the physical drawing near as a duty, reading the Bible, going to services, empty prayers but the heart, mind and soul also drawing near and drawing grace from Christ!
It’s sweet communion with God, it’s heartfelt prayer, it’s praise, it’s being a living sacrifice, it’s complete dependence upon Jesus, it’s recognising our weakness and the sufficiency of His strength which is obtained through prayer.
We are no stronger than those disciples and they were no stronger than us.
And it’s been the same throughout the ages! It was the same with Abraham, Moses and Samuel. It was the same with Esther, Ruth and Naomi. It was the same with Daniel, Stephen and Paul. It was the same with Amy Carmichael, Hudson Taylor and George Müller.
Their greatness was not in themselves it was in their abiding in Christ it was in their dependence upon God that they had the victory over sin and it was when they went on in their own strength and wisdom that they fell.
The battle is only won as we watch and pray, as we tarry with Jesus and abide in Him.
‘Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.’
John15:4, Matt 26:41, James 4:7-8