“One of my neighbors came by the other night,” Stan commented one morning. “He asked me a really big question, one that struck me as being at the heart of discipleship and one that can be talked about for as long as we are on this side of eternity.”
“Wow,” I said. “Must have been a big one. What was it?”
“Abiding,” was Stan’s one-word response.
“Abiding?” I said, “What about it? What did your neighbor ask?”
“He wanted to know what it means,” Stan replied with a smile. “He said he had read in a couple of places in the Bible about ‘abiding.’ Abiding in Christ, abiding in the vine, abiding in God’s love, abiding in the Word, a whole bunch of things dealing with abiding. He said he thought it sounded like something he wanted to do, but he wasn’t sure how to do it.”
“What’d you tell him?” I asked.
“I told him I thought it was a life-long pursuit,” Stan replied. “That it goes hand-in-hand with being a disciple and pursuing Christian maturity by working out the salvation that has been worked in by accepting the finished work of the cross.”
“So,” I said, “no easy answer?”
“No easy answer,” Stan agreed. “But I did tell him that I thought a good place to start was the nutshell approach.”
“Nutshell approach?” I replied. “What nutshell?”
“That it seems to me,” he replied, “that abiding is no different from being a disciple pursuing discipleship. Both are life-long and involve the same three steps.”
“Oh,” I said, “you mean the three steps of denying self, taking up whatever God has for us to take up, and following? Is that it?”
“That’s what it looks like to me,” Stan replied. “In abiding and in being a disciple, the first thing I have to do is deny self. With abiding, that would seem to involve that I must deny abiding in anything other than what God has for me to abide in. Then comes the part about taking up whatever God has for me to abide in.”
“And then follow,” I said. “Is that it?
“That’s what it looks like to me,” Stan replied. “Then I will be an abiding disciple.”
“That sounds pretty simple,” I said.
“Remember,” Stan replied, “just because something sounds simple, it doesn’t mean that it is, or that it’s easy!”
Bible verses to consider:
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23.
And the one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And we know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit which He has given us. 1 John 3:24.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. John 15:4.
If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:31-32.
[How many more verses can you list that deal with “abiding”?]
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for all you have available for me to abide in, beginning with knowing I will abide with you forever when my time here is completed. In the meantime, while you keep me on this side of eternity, you allow me to abide in you, in your word, in Jesus, and in so many other things. I confess that too often I do not choose to abide in what you have for me because I choose to abide in something or someone else (usually me!). Please forgive the foolishness of not choosing to abide in whatever you have for me. And please lead me in following every step of your lead so I do, in fact, abide in all you have for me. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you chosen to abide in God in the sense you know you will spend eternity in His presence when it’s time? If no, why? What is in the way of accepting His free and gracious provision? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with abiding in all that God has for you to abide in? If you sense a need for change in who and what you abide in, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?
2 thoughts on “October 6, 2022 — The Abiding Disciple”
Powerful and oh, so true…Abiding is a mindset and directly correlates to motives mattering rather than outward appearance! Thank you for your posts Stan! These last few posts have especially resonated.
Love it message
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