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March 31, 2005

Abide! Abide! Abide!

Greenville, SC

“By this we know that we are in Him: the one who abides in Him ought to walk in the same manner as He walked.” ~I John 2:5b-6

Abide, Abide, Abide!!!

This word is seldom dwelt upon. It is an action verb. It has amazing repercussions in our lives if we learn its measures. Abide! It requires endurance, perseverance, and depth.

Often in our Christian living, we consider the “doing” more than the “being.” We know what the Christian life is to look like, so we set out to achieve this appearance, this practice, this accomplishment of the Christian lifestyle. We look the part, but often are far from sincerely being the abiding child of God “rooted by the rivers of water – bringing forth fruit in its proper season.” Psalm 1.

Abiding does not seem to present great action! We hardly recognize the movements of abiding. Trees abide – though they might be moved in the blowing of the wind – they remain where they were planted. Year after year they grow taller and fuller without pomp, without circumstance. We often do not recognize the change without looking at photographs which register the difference, and much to our surprise, only then do we notice the great change in height and fullness.

As we abide in God’s Word, we drink deep of the promises of God. As we abide in the Holy Spirit, we are filled with all the Spirit has for God’s children, and the Fruit of the Spirit begins to be borne upon our lived and actions in this dark world. In all this – we begin to walk in the same manner as Christ Jesus walked – in His righteous obedience to the Father’s will.

Is this not how we ought to live? We find ourselves all too often challenged to observe what a Christian is supposed to look like, reading a verse that supports this, and then provoked to go and accomplish this task. This is our own efforts toward self-righteousness, a practice despised by our Lord!

We may ask the question – “Are we not supposed to strive unto good works?” Yes – but not by our own power or perfection. For a “righteousness apart from the law is revealed…this righteousness is even that of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all that believe.” Romans 3:21.

We have become satisfied in our own strivings to produce fruit that appears to be that of the Spirit. We learn to love, have joy, be peaceful, patient, kind, gentle, good, meek, self-controlled, and trust with contrived faith in God. But if this is self-derived, it amounts to no substance. It is nothing more than mere papier-mâché fruit that when the wind and rain blows in our lives, it is left falling apart and ruined.

But the Bible says that the Spirit bears true fruit of its own perfect nature, and these are Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Gentleness, Goodness, Meekness, Self-Control, and Faith – against these things there is no Law! If we ABIDE in the Spirit, our lives will be changed, and the fragrance and beauty of the fruit will be unmatched satisfying the soul and bearing witness to the perfection and transforming power of God through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Abide in Him, and walk as He walked, and the assurance of knowing you are in Him will spring forth in your heart.