Call to Obedience
CALL TO OBEDIENCE is a monthly letter to challenge you to live a godly life. Subscribe today to receive your free monthly copy, and don't forget to click to our archives to read past issues of the Call to Obedience. Below is our current issue for this month.CALL TO OBEDIENCE #475
"ABIDE IN ME"
Reimar A. C. Schultze
Adapted from a message by Rev. Loran W. Helm, with permission.
“Abiding” includes remaining, staying, living, dwelling, abounding and going on. In John 15:7, Jesus said: If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Jesus said: If ye… He was speaking to the apostles, to the disciples, to those who would listen to Him. Sometimes there were a thousand people, sometimes three thousand, sometimes five thousand. He said to them: If ye abide in me.
The word “abiding” is quite a word to view, isn’t it? The word abide means to remain, to be steadfast; it implies a staying, a steadiness, a keeping on. Abiding comes by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God working and dwelling in you. He said: If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you.
Now the secret of the spiritual law of abiding, of course, is prayer and obedience, because without obedience, our prayers are ineffectual. If we do not obey God, then our prayers are just words. But if we obey and do as He leads, then we have that privilege of abiding. So the very life blood of abiding is obeying. Without obeying God’s Word and praying, we are not abiding, for we are outside of the word “abide.” So by prayer and obedience, we abide in Him.
Furthermore, Jesus said: Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me (Mark 8:34). So I see in the word abiding the spiritual law requiring self denial. Self must deny itself in order to abide in Christ; otherwise we abide in the self-life. In order to abide in the spiritual life, we must say “no” to self. We cannot do as we want. We cannot do as we arrange, as we plan. This has been the weakness of man since the Fall in the garden, when Adam and Eve made the wrong choice, the choice to get what they wanted, not what they needed. When we are abiding, we always receive what we need including a leading of what we are to do next. The leading of the Holy Spirit works in the abiding heart. The Holy Spirit can work and speak in our heart as we abide. It is very important for us to deny self in order to continue abiding. When self is assertive, we cease abiding in Christ.
And then He said: …and take up his cross. The cross is that instrument of death upon which we are 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. It is a continual dying, for Paul said: I die daily. When we cease dying, we cease abiding. Unless the self is willing to be crucified, the abiding is absent. Again, the abiding includes prayer and obedience. It requires self-denial and the daily cross.
Next Jesus said: ...and follow me. Following depends upon the inner crucifixion and the denying of self and obeying the last leading of the Holy Spirit. We follow by the Word of God and by putting aside the weights and sins that so easily beset us. So many things keep us out of the abidingcarnal attitudes and carnal resentments will take us out of abiding in Jesus. The spiritual law of following includes submission, surrender and attentiveness to the voice of truth in the Word and in the Holy Spirit. This leads us to the beautiful area of abiding in Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, the Way, the Truth and the Life. The abiding is as we pray, as we obey, as we deny self, as we take up our cross and are crucified with Christ, cleansed of the carnal nature, and then become a servant, submissive, given over to the will of God, doing God’s will on earth as it is in heaven.
To abide in Him is a place of richness, a place of light, a place of life, a place of strength, a place of fellowship. When we abide in Him, we have fellowship with all those who are abiding. Now if we are not abiding, then there isn’t any fellowship. But in the area of abiding, there is the marvel of this work within us and of His revelation. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Prov. 3:5-6). Trusting in the Lord is a great part of abidingleaning not to what we understand, what we desire or what we want. In the word abiding, there is childlikeness. Only the childlike heart will pursue this staying, remaining and steadfast life in the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is a tremendous area of love; for without the love of God working in us, it is difficult to abide. 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. 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. The great assignment in the Christian life, in the way of God, in the way of Christ Jesus, in the way of the Holy Spirit, is abiding faithfully. When we abide, we are consistent. The pastor can count on the abiding heart. He cannot count on that person who comes and goes. One day they are up, then another day they are down. Sometimes they are there, and sometimes they are not.
Abiding requires much petition and waiting on God. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint (Is. 40:31). In the word abiding, there is no fainting. In the word abiding, there is enduring; there is perseverance. In abiding, we discover a vast place of quietness, of being still before Him. In the word abiding, there is yieldedness; there is a releasing of all control to His guidance so that we may be able, by His presence and power, to abound. Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit saith the Lord of hosts (Zech. 4:6). 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 and God’s Word abiding in us that we can abound. All who abide, abound. Have you considered the abounding? In the word “abide” is the word “abound”. In the word abounding, there is dependability, reliability, precious help as a soul is indwelt by His presence. It is ...Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).
Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? (Is. 53:1). Abiding in the Word of God produces faith, the holy faith once delivered to the saints. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. By it the elders obtained a good report (Heb. 11:1-2). Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). Faith is within and without and surrounds the abiding. We have to resist unbelief and doubt continuously, because in the word abiding, there cannot be unbelief or doubt or analyzation. There must be childlike faithbelieving, trusting, holding, pressing, persevering.
In this marvelous way of abiding, there is the ongoing of His great revelation. The revelation of God comes through the Holy Spirit as we abide. Jesus said: ...I thank thee, O Father... because thou hast hid these things from the wise and the prudent, and hast revealed them unto 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. Abiding must be permanent and continuous. It must also be sincere for in the word abiding, there is sincerity and integrity; there is togetherness and yieldedness as we have faith as a child to believe and to rejoice. How much praise do you think occupies the place of abiding? Praising God and praising Jesus is almost the breath of trusting. Those who cease praising, cease abiding. The apostle said: Rejoice evermore... In everything give thanks... (1 Thess. 5:16-18). In another place he said: Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice (Phil. 4:4). Praise is a great part of abiding. It is getting alone and praising the Lordjust praising Him and honoring Him, giving Him glory and hallelujahs, thanksgiving and gratitude.
In the abiding, there is no sin. The sins of omission and the sins of commission are not found in the abiding. They are resisted. In the word abiding is holiness, for He comes in His holiness to the abiding heart. He gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him. Those who obey Him are those who abide in Him by a true waiting in His presence and following His Word, being submitted and giving all praise to God for Jesus. There is great hope in it. Hope is ever near and all throughout the abiding. Hallelujah! And you see, the light is in there, for Jesus is the light. And in the light of abiding is life with no dark part at all. The persons who abide in Christ can rely on God to supply all that is needed for circumstances and situations confronting them, for the secret of the Lord is revealed to those who fear Him. But in the life of fearing God, there is a caution and carefulness in language, in expression, in thought and in ideas. In the abiding life, we are very cautious of our manner, of our behavior, of our attitudes, of our language and of our reactions.
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. The word “abiding” includes remaining, staying, living, dwelling, abounding and going on. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen.