I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. - John 15:5
The word abide means to live within or dwell. We are called in this passage abide in Him, and to allow His words abide in us. That’s an active and a passive directive. In other words, we need to dwell within Him and we need to allow Him to dwell within us. Both of these relationships - the active and the passive - are essential to glorifying God. We must be engaged in both if we are to prove to be His disciples.
When we talk about abiding in Him, we’re referring to our wills and our decisions. We must choose to do those things that keep us in Him - getting into His Word, attending weekly service, spending time in prayer, actively pursuing fellowship with other believers. We also actively abide in Him we we do those things He calls us to do - confess our sins, carry one another’s burdens, serve the poor.
Allowing Him to abide in us is a little more challenging - especially for those of us who are doers. Many of us are more comfortable at doing than we are at these passive commands. If you give me a check list of things I need to do, I’ll take care of them pretty quick. Personally, I’m a rule follower, so if you give me rules, I’ll follow them. It’s the passive things I struggle with a little more. Memorizing His Word is one way to allow His Word to abide in us - I do that fairly well because it’s still something active. But just allowing Him to abide in me is more challenging.
We will walk through things in this world that we cannot bear in our own strength. We will face trials that will break us and bring us to our knees. There will be difficult decisions and hurtful injustices that will bring unbearable pain into our lives. We just don’t have the strength to face these things in life on our own. God doesn’t promise we won’t face these things if we place our trust in Him. The world we live in is broken - it’s not how He created it to be, but it is broken because of sin. And that brokenness means there will be heartache in our lives.
What He does promise is that He will be with us if we allow Him to abide in us. He promises to be near the broken-hearted and He promises to be our strength and our refuge. So many of us fail at this part because we are masters at trying to solve our own problems, then we fill with despair when our plans are not working. Surrendering your struggle to Him, and trusting that He is sovereign over everything that happens, that He knows your heartache, that He loves you deeply, and that He has a plan for your life that is good is the way you allow Him to abide in you.
But the key is that both of these are essential for us to bear much fruit and prove to be disciples. We must learn to be both active and passive in abiding. On the one hand, making decisions and trying to manage everything on your own is going to produce anxiety, not results. But sitting back and letting Him take all the responsibility by making no choice to move will produce a fruitless life. We must determine to do both - to actively seek Him in Word, prayer, and fellowship, and then trusting He will see us through by providing the strength we need in the moment. When we do, we are abiding in Him and letting Him abide in us.
This diagnosis has been a lesson in learning to abide for me. He has given me a trial for which I have an active part to play - there are things I have to do as part of my treatment and there are things I have to do to stay strong in my faith. Every single day, I work to do the things I can do - get into His Word without exception, take my meds, eat healthy and exercise. But the truth is, none of those are going to make me well in and of themselves. There is a passive part of this plan. Daily, I need to rest, I need to trust that the treatment is working, and I need to allow Him to abide in me for strength and courage. I must trust in His plan in this treatment - whatever the final outcome, that He is with me and He is working all things out for my good.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗