My Question: What does it look like to Abide for you?

(Taylor) #1

Hi everyone,

This has been a question of mine that has challenged and created an opportunity for me since the first time I read Jesus’ words. Specifically when in Jesus says: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
‭‭John‬ ‭15:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

What it’s looked like for me has has changed: it started with more of a WWJD type two-way-dialog…as I was listenening to a gospel each week; then it went to more of an asking and waiting for the Holy Spirit to direct me. Currently I’m sensing more of a shift to praying continually and trusting that God’s going to lead me into all truth as I go and as I grow in my identity as a beloved child of my Heavenly Father, being less concerned with outcomes and more focused on Jesus and how He alone is enough.

What does this Abiding practically look like for you?

(Kathleen) #2

Hi, @Tschenone! I was just reading this passage today asking myself the same question!

As the ESV uses abide, the NIV uses the English word remain, both of which also mean continue on, persist, and stand. It struck me that Jesus was calling them (and us) not just to a course of action, but into a state of existence. He was calling them to continue on in that life-giving relationship. As a ‘do-er’, I always find it difficult to place priority on being.

So, much like you, that abiding or remaining has a lot to do with how I am interacting with Him. Am I always telling Him what to do without listening to what He has to say? Am I just lobbing my frustrations in His general direction? Am I refusing to talk to Him because I am angry at the way He is handling something? (This happens a lot in my life! He certainly has no regard for my definition of efficiency. :wink:) Or do I actually genuinely engage with Him? All I know is that when I ignore Him, I begin to wither.

(Taylor) #3

Love it! Thanks for your reply…I was beginning to think I was the only one who has ever pressed into that from an application perspective :crazy_face:! Thanks for you comments and it’s helpful to see that Dad doesn’t like your definition of efficiency either…I’m thankful that this is a process and not something that gets figured out this side of heaven.

(C Rhodes) #4

I think my concept of abiding comes from the scripture that reads, “let this mind be in you that is in CHRIST JESUS!” Philippians 2:5. My struggling ratchets down when I realized that the abiding in CHRIST is about letting. It fits for me.

My struggle occurs when I fail to let that mind dwell in me. Matthew 6:25-34. It’s a lot easier to ‘clear the way’ than to make the way. Once I got that inference, the lessons and awareness begin to fly in my face. As I have been willing, the Lord continues to mature me.

Like you I just want to know what GOD desires of me. I trust GOD’s plan it always uncovers the best of me. Even the trouble serves a purpose. That is empowering and affirming.

(Taylor) #5

Wow, that’s a really great way to put it abiding into perspective. Thank you for your comments! Enjoying the journey together…as we are led by His Spirit and renewing our minds along the way. Love it.

(Rob Lundberg) #6

I am just want to chime in here real quickly. The word abide is the word “meno” in the original language of the text, and also implies the meaning “to remain” or “to continue.” We read in John 8:31, “If you continue (meno) in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine. . .”

I think those two words, “remain” and “continue” help in understanding the word “abide.” If we abide (remain, and continue) in Christ, He abides (remains and continues) with us. This is NOT implying that we lose our relationship with Him if we don’t. But a believer who is a disciple will want to remain or abide in His Word and thus learn more and grow in their relationship with Him.

(Taylor) #7

Amen! Thank you for sharing this Rob!

(Carson Weitnauer) #8

Hi @Tschenone,

I would commend to you Brother Lawrence’s The Practice of the Presence of God. He lived in the 1600s and worked in a monastery’s kitchen. His experience of abiding with God has stuck with me ever since I read it.

Here are a few quotes:

Having found in many books different methods of going to GOD, and divers practices of the spiritual life, I thought this would serve rather to puzzle me, than facilitate what I sought after, which was nothing but how to become wholly GOD’s.

This made me resolve to give the all for the All: so after having given myself wholly to GOD, to make all the satisfaction I could for my sins, I renounced, for the love of Him, everything that was not He; and I began to live as if there was none but He and I in the world. Sometimes I considered myself before Him as a poor criminal at the feet of his judge; at other times I beheld Him in my heart as my FATHER, as my GOD: I worshipped Him the oftenest that I could, keeping my mind in His holy Presence, and recalling it as often as I found it wandered from Him. I found no small pain in this exercise, and yet I continued it, notwithstanding all the difficulties that occurred, without troubling or disquieting myself when my mind had wandered involuntarily. I made this my business, as much all the day long as at the appointed times of prayer; for at all times, every hour, every minute, even in the height of my business, I drove away from my mind everything that was capable of interrupting my thought of GOD.

As for what passes in me at present, I cannot express it. I have no pain or difficulty about my state, because I have no will but that of GOD, which I endeavour to accomplish in all things, and to which I am so resigned, that I would not take up a straw from the ground against His order, or from any other motive but purely that of love to Him.

I have quitted all forms of devotion and set prayers but those to which my state obliges me. And I make it my business only to persevere in His holy presence, wherein I keep myself by a simple attention, and a general fond regard to GOD, which I may call an actual presence of GOD; or, to speak better, an habitual, silent, and secret conversation of the soul with GOD, which often causes in me joys and raptures inwardly, and sometimes also outwardly, so great that I am forced to use means to moderate them, and prevent their appearance to others.

You tell me nothing new: you are not the only one that is troubled with wandering thoughts. Our mind is extremely roving; but as the will is mistress of all our faculties, she must recall them, and carry them to GOD, as their last end.

When the mind, for want of being sufficiently reduced by recollection, at our first engaging in devotion, has contracted certain bad habits of wandering and dissipation, they are difficult to overcome, and commonly draw us, even against our wills, to the things of the earth.

I believe one remedy for this is, to confess our faults, and to humble ourselves before GOD. I do not advise you to use multiplicity of words in prayer; many words and long discourses being often the occasions of wandering: hold yourself in prayer before GOD, like a dumb or paralytic beggar at a rich man’s gate: let it be your business to keep your mind in the presence of the LORD. If it sometimes wander, and withdraw itself from Him, do not much disquiet yourself for that; trouble and disquiet serve rather to distract the mind, than to re-collect it; the will must bring it back in tranquillity; if you persevere in this manner, GOD will have pity on you.

One way to re-collect the mind easily in the time of prayer, and preserve it more in tranquillity, is not to let it wander too far at other times: you should keep it strictly in the presence of GOD; and being accustomed to think of Him often, you will find it easy to keep your mind calm in the time of prayer, or at least to recall it from its wanderings.

As you read through these, there are three key points that I find helpful:

  1. There is a simplicity in this. Simply resolve to be entirely God’s. Continue in that resolution.
  2. This isn’t formulaic or hard work. It is a relationship that we enjoy - it is a relationship with a God of infinite love.
  3. When our minds get distracted, we don’t chastise ourselves for this. Rather, we gently remind ourselves that we want to abide in God’s presence. And we return our attention to God and his boundless love.

I would encourage you to ask God for his gracious help as you resolve to abide in his presence.