Sometimes, lessons are tough. While I knew the LORD wanted me to write about abiding in Him this week, it didn’t hit me until now that He was showing me an example of what it looked like through a situation that developed in our home over the course of a couple days this week. A lack of communication and different points of view amongst members of our family had led to hurt feelings, alienation, frustration, and anger. I remember sitting on my bed, saying to the LORD, “I don’t know what to do.”
“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. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me, you can do nothing.”John 15:4-5 NASB 1977
The Greek word for “abide” is “menó.” It has a number of different meanings, but in this particular verse, it means two things.
The first meaning of menó is to be kept, to remain. I just wrote about this in the Bible study the LORD and I are writing (another confirmation that He’s been preparing me for this and giving me clear eyes to see). I SOOOO want to delve deeper on this here!! It stirs my soul, but I’ll just leave that where it is and, hopefully, you’ll look forward to digging in further when the study comes out (I post updates on how the study is coming along in the footer of each page on this site, so feel free to check in now and then to see how it’s coming along and, hopefully, to pray with me.). Today, we’ll focus on remaining or being kept. It’s talking about where you are. In fact, menó is used in John 19:31, when the Jews didn’t want the bodies of Jesus and the two criminals He was crucified next to remaining on the crosses during the Sabbath; they asked Pilate to have their legs broken to speed up their death, so their bodies could be taken off/away. Another phrase we could use here is to stay.
I love the first part of the definition–“to be kept.” There are two parts to the “keeping” to consider. First, God is keeping, preserving, and protecting us.
“The LORD is your protector, there at your right side to shade you from the sun.”Psalm 121:5 CEV
The word for “protector,” in this verse, is also defined as “keep, preserve.”
“11Holy Father, I am no longer in the world. I am coming to You, but My followers are still in the world. So keep them safe by the power of the name You have given Me. Then, they will be one with each other, just as You and I are one. 12While I was with them, I was protecting them by Your name that You have given Me. I guarded them and not one of them is lost, except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture may be fulfilled. Now I am coming to You, and I speak these things in the world, so that they may have My joy completed in them. I have given them Your word. The world hated them because they are not of the world, as I am not of the world. I am not praying that You take them out of the world, but that You protect them from the evil one.”John 17:11 CEV, 17:12-15 HCSB
This truth continues here, as Christ made the Father’s character visible to His followers and asked Him to keep and protect them, to guard them from being lost or succumbing, with the focus on preserving His followers. “His followers” includes those of us who’ve accepted Christ as the sacrifice for our sins and have chosen to follow Him!
While the first part of “keeping” is what God does, the second part is on us…we’re to stay put. We need to remain under the Father’s active guard, accepting His guidance and commands; this is, actually, the second meaning of menó–not to leave, to continue to be present. If we step out from under the shadow (shade) of a tree, we’re exposed to the heat and harm of the sun. It’s the same with God. If we remain next to Him, we’ll experience His protection; He’ll cause us to persevere and stand firm, when things come our way, but if we decide we want to walk away from Him to explore something that opposes Him, we’ll be exposed to the enemy (“the evil one”).
“Nevertheless, I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel…”Psalm 73:23-24a NKJV
“Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son.”2 John 1:9 NLT
I’ve always heard of “abiding” as “to live/dwell.” It’s deeper…closer…than that. When we live with our families, we do life together, but we may also step out to go to the store or work. When we live in a menó relationship with God, we remain present, close beside Him, and He remains our Keeper, our Protector.
I remained beside Him, as I poured out my heart on my bed, and it wasn’t long before a peace calmed my soul. He guided me in the words to say and how to interact, mediate, and encourage. I observed with each family member that the enemy was targeting us, once again; I wasn’t going to let him win…and neither was my Keeper! Throughout the evening, I watched the enemy leave, as I chose not to; and our faithful Protector was active and victorious!
“So place yourselves under God’s authority. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you.”James 4:7 GWT
God wanting me to dig into “abide” with eyes wide open was affirmed this past week, when a dear friend ordered the sign you saw in this post’s initial image from my daughter’s new little business venture, DFH (Designs for HIM). She’s making Home Goods To Encourage and Inspire, growing her product line, and customizing when asked. “Abide” was a word that was resonating with my friend, and she wanted something simple as a reminder. I think I need one for our home, too.