Reimar A. C. Schultze
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you (John 15:7).
When we come to Jesus, He tells us to obey Him, to follow Him and to abide in Him. “Abide” means to remain, to stay, to dwell, to continue in a place. The place where Jesus tells us to abide is in Him—near His heart and His mind. This is a childlike state of rest, believing, trusting, holding and persevering.
Instructions on How to Abide in Christ
Jesus said: If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me (Matt. 16:24).
Abiding requires that we take up our cross. The cross is that instrument of death upon which our self-life is crucified. As we take up our cross, we are cleansed of this carnal nature: this evil nature, this deception, this darkness, this love of Self which is dwelling in our hearts. It is a continual dying, for Paul said: I die daily (1 Cor. 15:31). Unless the Self in our lives is crucified, the abiding will be absent.
Abiding includes following, prayer and obedience. The life-blood of abiding is obeying. Without obeying God’s Word and praying to learn His will, we cannot abide. Following depends upon Self-denial and obeying every leading of the Holy Spirit. We follow by obeying the Word of God and by putting aside the weights and sins that so easily beset us, including fleshly attitudes and resentments. The spiritual law of following includes submission, surrender and attentiveness to the truth in the Word of God and from the Holy Spirit.
Abiding requires much petition and waiting upon God: But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; …they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint (Isa. 40:31). In abiding there is no fainting, but there is enduring and perseverance: If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed (John 8:31). As we abide in Him, we discover a vast place where we can be still before Him and listen to His voice. While we are abiding, we will be yielding and releasing all control of our lives to His guidance. This will in turn allow us to be able, by His presence and power, to live an abounding life.
When we abide in Him, our life is full of praise. Praising Jesus is the breath of trusting. Those who cease praising, cease abiding. The Apostle Paul said: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thes. 5:16-18). In another place he said: Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! (Phil. 4:4). Praise is a great part of abiding. It is getting alone and praising the Lord—just praising Him and honoring Him, giving Him glory and thanksgiving and gratitude.
In abiding there is no sin, but caution. Sins both of commission and omission are resisted when we abide, because Jesus comes in His holiness into our hearts. Abiding increases the fear of God; therefore we are unlikely to think selfish or critical thoughts. We become cautious of our behavior, our manner, our attitudes and our reactions. We respond to others with compassion.
The Benefits of Abiding
Abiding brings abundance. Jesus said: ...I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly (John 10:10). It is not in the strength of the flesh, but it is in the power of the Holy Spirit through the blood of Jesus cleansing us and God’s Word abiding in us that we can have abundant life: ...Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts (Zech. 4:6). Jesus promised: He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit… (John 15:5); If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you (John 15:7). All who abide, abound.
Abiding brings faith and hope. Trusting in the Lord is a great part of abiding—leaning not to what we understand, what we desire or what we want: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Prov. 3:5-6). In abiding there is childlikeness. Only the childlike heart will pursue this life of staying and remaining in the Lord Jesus Christ. While we are abiding, we always receive what we need. Jesus has promised to take care of His followers. We are told to ...seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (Matt. 6:33). We also have hope: ...Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).
Abiding brings love and joy. Jesus tells us of the love and joy which are ours to have: As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full (John 15:9-11). When the love of God works in us, abiding is natural. Love is the thread, the cord, that holds us in the abiding. In the abiding, love flows and it is fresh and continuous. The life of abiding is not stagnant, but it is a pleasure and an adventure. Joy always floods the obedient heart.
Abiding brings revelation. As we are on this marvelous path of abiding in Christ, there is an ongoing flow to us of His great revelations. Revelations from God come through the Holy Spirit as we abide. Jesus said: I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes (Matt. 11:25). The revelation of God comes to the childlike, to those who abide. God reveals what is needed to the abiding heart. People ask: “How will I know how to proceed?” He will make the way clear as we abide. Yet, when we are abiding, we always receive the leading that we need. The Holy Spirit can work and speak in our hearts as we abide.
When we abide in Christ, we will have fellowship with others that we meet who are also abiding. As we meet them along the pathway of life, it will appear as if we have known them for many years. Now if we are not abiding, then there is not any fellowship. But as we are abiding in Him, there is the marvel of His working within us and of His revelations to us.
This message of abiding is universal. It is eternal. It is a great opportunity. It is a place where all are welcome, but few attend. Jesus invites us to the life of abiding in Him. When we abide in Him, then His Word abides in us. In the world of abiding, there is such a vastness that you cannot find the end of it or reach the sides of it. It is ongoing as you follow. Our great assignment is abiding faithfully as we live the Christian life and travel in the way of God, in the way of Christ Jesus and in the way of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said: If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. So we see that to abide is urgent, expedient, and it is required. It amounts to Jesus’ words abiding in our hearts and flowing through us to others. They will be not only helpful, but also healing. There will be expressions of wisdom and knowledge as the abiding flows out from within us.
The power to abide is not in us. It is in Him. It requires the power of the Holy Spirit to abide in Him. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the way to the Father. No man comes to God except through Christ. No man comes to the Son except the Father draw Him. While we are abiding in Christ, we have a relationship and fellowship with Him. We will be experiencing something that cannot be explained or told by the earthly mind. As we are in this area of abiding, we will have a hearing heart, a heeding heart and a listening soul. In our lives, we will experience refining and cleansing from Him as we abide in Him. All who abide, abound.
(This message was adapted from the teachings of Rev. Loran W. Helm)