We entered into a season of waiting this summer. Resting and preparing our hearts, waiting on what God has next. As a generally impatient person who likes to be in control of her own destiny, novelty turned into agony.
I tried to question His timing. Was there a lesson I was supposed to learn? A sinful behavior I was burying? Something I was supposed to do or say?
But through it all, Jesus was whispering in my ear, “Abide in ME.” And I tried to abide, but some days anxiety got the best of me, and doubt, and even fear. Maybe I was wrong about this whole moving thing? Maybe, like Abraham, my time of waiting would stretch from seasons into years.
I had this dear sweet picture in my head of abiding, where I thought abiding meant resting. Sitting on my laurels and catching my breath. But it doesn’t. Abiding is a deliberate act of acceptance. When I abide in Christ, I accept His will. His timing.
The Greek word for “abide” in John 14:5 is ménō, a primary verb also used to mean dwell, sojourn, remain, continue, endure, stand, be present, and thine own. Abiding in Christ, then, is four-fold.
First, it implies place. When I dwell in Christ, it is as a shelter. I flee there and seek to remain. There, in the safety of His embrace, I am held and kept continuously. “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’” (Psalm 91:1-2).
Second, abiding in Christ involves time. When I abide in Christ, He enables me to continue. I last in Christ. I endure in Christ. I survive in Christ. I LIVE in Christ. Without this abiding, my life line is cut. I can make it only so far for so long on my own. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).
Next, abiding in Christ refers to a state of being. Together, we remain as one. Remaining in Christ is not easy, though. The world would love to be the object of my attentions and my affections. It’s easy enough. I give in to a little anxiety here, spend all my time pursuing my hobbies, and voila! Pretty soon, I am trying to be the master of my destiny all over again. Abiding in Christ and allowing the Lord direct my steps is key. “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Lastly, abiding in Christ references an awaiting. When I abide in Christ, I am waiting. Not only waiting to ride out the storms of this life, waiting for what comes next, but looking patiently forward to Jesus’ return. “It is good. The Eternal One is good to those who expect Him, to those who seek Him wholeheartedly” (Lamentations 3:25).
Abiding in Christ requires accepting Christ as my own. Through my faith in Him, I am a child of God, “putting on Christ, like putting on new clothes” (Galatians 3:26-27).
And so as I abide, I dwell in Christ. As I endure, I stand firm in Christ. And even as I remain in this present moment, I am fully waiting in Christ, whispering into those stars of promises fulfilled, “Come, Lord Jesus.”