With all that we see wrong in our culture and in our own lives, the beauty of God’s answer to us remains the same-His presence in our lives and in our world. Our connection to God is ever the thing we need and the thing we must desire. What is it that transformed a group of cowardly disciples into the leadership of the church willing to give their life in service to God? God’s presence in their lives. God’s Spirit living within them; poured out because of Christ. What changed a murderous man like Saul into a lover of Christ like Paul; the drawing close of Jesus on the road to Damascus; the Spirit making a home within him.
It is that old word ‘abide’. Abide - to remain in, to live with, to make a home with, to stay, to dwell, to reside. As Jesus told us in John we must abide in Him and He in us; that we cannot bear fruit if we don’t remain in Him, live with Him, draw close to Him; that his Word must live in us and dwell in our hearts; that we will obey Jesus’ teachings and He and the Father will come and make their home within us. They will abide in us. Christian, this must be our cry, our hearts desire, our source of strength and power-the abiding presence of God. In the words of a great hymn by Henry Francis Lyte:
"Abide with me, fast falls the eventide
The darkness deepens Lord, with me abide
When other helpers fail and comforts flee
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away
Change and decay in all around I see
O Thou who changest not, abide with me
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness
Where is death’s sting?
Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee
In life, in death, o Lord, abide with me
Abide with me, abide with me"
How have you experienced the living presence of God in your life lately?
What does it mean for you to abide in God in everyday life?