Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also 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. (John 15:9-10)
In what do you abide? You might have to take a moment to think about it, because in our rush-here-and-there culture, we don’t abide long anywhere. We get frustrated when we feel even a moment of abiding in the drive-through or convenience store checkout lane. We have a lot of things waiting to get done, so we don’t feel we can afford to abide for long anywhere. So, we flit from this thing to that, sometimes feeling a sense of accomplishment or, even more rarely, purpose, doing our best to keep everything moving forward.
We actually can get to where we somewhat settle into the flitting. We can become accustomed to the not-so-routine routine of checking things off our lists. But something happens in the process. We lose our ability to focus, really focus. We lose our focus to abide, really abide.
You see, abiding in something is settling in. It’s where you live—not your house, but where the core of you lives. It’s your home of homes. It’s where you run to, get strengthened, receive comfort, get a reality check, and hit the reset button. Abiding bears weight. It’s where the burden is laid down. And it’s full of patience.
When we abide somewhere worldly, we might return to the nook of our abiding someday, close the door for privacy, and realize we are truly alone. We find out that what we were abiding in wasn’t real. It sounded good at the times. It was in the best books and even made some news reports. Experts circulate online sharing the news of “if you only….” Your friends were trying it, too, so you had some support along the way. But there was that gnawing, empty feeling. It was fulfilling for a while but it didn’t last forever.
Now what? You’ve built a room in which you abide. It’s pretty central to your life. To change now…well, you just don’t have the energy or desire to do it. After all, if this doesn’t work, the next thing probably won’t either, right?
Abiding in the world never will.
Abiding in God’s love always will.
The choice isn’t always God verses something that completely rejects God. Many Christians struggle with abiding in God’s love, too. In fact, I’d venture to assume nearly all Christians struggle with it somewhere along the faith journey, probably multiple times. We acknowledge who God is. We trust Him. But there are some things we don’t fully rely on Him for. We don’t retreat into His presence and get rejuvenated, convicted, encouraged, and challenged all the time. We build a room in our lives for Him, and we go there as often as we can. Our intentions are good; we try to consistently increase the time we spend with Him. But abiding in God’s love isn’t about having a separate room for visiting God. Abiding in God’s love is remaining in Him every moment.
God is prepared. He doesn’t have to reside in a particular place, but He remains in us. So, it makes it pretty convenient for us to access God. We still struggle with it. We still compartmentalize our lives, including our faith, and we focus on what’s going on around us instead of what’s going on within us. When we abide in God and allow Him to guide us, paying attention to those around us becomes secondary. He takes care of the who, how, and when. When we abide in His love, we don’t have to worry about juggling service, worship, prayer, forgiveness, mercy, grace, etc. He is all those things. They flow from His love. If we get the abiding in God’s love right; He keeps the rest together.
Do whatever it takes to tear apart anything and anyone you abide in other than God Himself. He is ready to fill you to the brim and overflow on the world around you.
Dear God, help me tear down everything in my life that gets in the way between me and You. I know there are some things that You have no intention to get rid of, because they are part of Your will. But I have distorted them. I have placed more importance on other things in my life and tried to fit You in instead of abiding in You and trusting You to guide me is doing what You have planned. My controlling tendencies come out, and I step ahead of You, making assumptions about Your will I shouldn’t make. Forgive me, Lord. I am Your child.