Abounding is Possible Only When Abiding
John 15:9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.”
To abide means, to accept or act in accordance with (a rule, decision, or recommendation). Or some other words that share the same meaning are; to keep to, hold onto, conform to, adhere to, stick to, stand by, to act in accordance with. So we have a choice in what we decide to do!
We Need to Decide to Abide
If abiding in Jesus is a prerequisite to abounding, what prevents us from abiding in Him? Clearly, we want to abound in the spirit, and in our personal lives, but first, we must address what causes us not to abide. Let’s begin by looking at two misconceptions to abiding in Jesus:
It’s Not Always About Our Feelings
1. Our own human understanding— Sometimes we think that abiding in Him is based on our feelings. Well, the good news is, this is wrong thinking. Abiding is actually about being in a relationship, and sometimes that cannot be gauged just by our senses or feelings.
I expect you are now thinking Phew, what a relief! This is especially true if you tend to think you must have an emotional rush every time you spend intimate time with God. In close relationships, like a marriage, for example, abiding is an act of faith that is improved as you develop different levels of communication. If you apply this to your relationship with God, you spend time with Him daily because you value Him. Valuing God’s presence can’t be reduced to an immediate sensation or emotion. If you think you must always have a strong feeling or a tangible sensation to know that you’ve been spending time with God, then you are setting yourself up to be disappointed. By faith you set aside time for Him and develop ways, over time, to hear His voice. And to express yourself to Him and of course Him to you.
God’s Ways Are Always the Best Ways
2. The second wrong thought about abiding and abounding in Jesus is the misconception that you can fully abide in Christ without obeying Him. Jesus said, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love” (John 15:10 NKJV).
Unfortunately, if we consistently disobey God’s voice and brush aside His purpose in our lives, it will create a breakdown in our communication and fellowship with Him. Look at this way: If we enjoy an intimate time, and even emotional worship on a Sunday morning, but then exclude Him and continue disregarding His heart for us during the week, then it will result in us struggling to abide and obviously abound in Him. Why? Because we have systematically ignored Him, then we won’t know what He’s trying to say to us.
Lacking or Abounding – What Would We Prefer?
If we look at Scripture, one of the greatest examples of this principle is the picture of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32 NKJV). When the younger son left his father’s house to do his own thing, after a period of time, he made a complete mess of his life and nearly starved to death. However, when he came back, he was loving restored to his rightful place by his father and received the full abundance and inheritance of his father’s estate.
God’s GPS, Gives Us the Best!
This parable not only illustrates our Heavenly Father’s unconditional love and grace, but it is a true picture of how we abound when we abide with God. With God, the calf is always the best-fatted calf; the robe is always the best most beautiful robe; the joy is always unspeakable, and His peace will always surpass our own understanding. God’s way is always characterized and shown in His overflowing goodness towards us.
The Famous Missionary Hudson Taylor
He makes the most beautiful statement:
“Abiding in Jesus isn’t fixing our attention on Christ, but it is being one with Him… A man is abiding just as much when he is sleeping for Jesus, as when he is awake and working for Jesus. Oh, it is a very sweet thing to have one’s mind just resting there.”
So, today’s encouraging word is to remind yourself that abiding and abounding belongs to those who love to hear His voice and follow in His ways!