I had some bad moments last week of not abiding way too well.
Abide is most often a Biblical word from the Greek word menó, to stay, abide, remain.
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)
I like the Merriam-Webster’s definition.
Abide (transitive verb)
1 a :to bear patiently :tolerate
b :to endure without yielding :withstand
2 :to wait for :await
3 :to accept without objection
Teachings of abide in John 15:4 usually regards clinging to, remaining attached to the vine that is Jesus/God. Whatever happens, abide.
In that sense, I guess I do abide, technically. I say technically because I never actually let go. However, I waver and my mind wanders into thoughts unfit to abide with the Lord that spawn from doubt that arises in unfavorable situations.
Any disciple worth his salt should know better than to let feelings rule the moment but this disciple doubts. Sometimes I doubt so deeply that it seems I have barely a shred of hope in me.
If let myself slip down that doubt slope, not abiding may manifest as anxiety or bitterness or resentment or judgment or envy or self-pity. I may even start spewing a lot of stupid questions God’s way, like "Why? What’s going on? How could this be happening?" I completely forget that I don’t need answers to any of those questions, all I need is God himself.
Abide. Cling. Remain. Hold on… "Take a deep breath," I tell myself.
Summarizing the consummation of Job’s ordeal, Sam Williamson notes, “When Job gives conversational control back to God, God simply reveals himself...When Job sees God, he drops all his pretensions of control...In seeing God, Job is completely satisfied. He never needed the answer he thought he needed; he needed God alone.”
Here’s a great list of what abiding looks like: “...love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” (Galatians 5: 22-23). Precede each with “genuine” vs. the disingenuous but very popular, “Fake it ‘till you make it.”
Here again, turning to God’s Word is lifesaving. Meditating on a few verses gets me back on the abiding track:
- Philippians 4:6-7 - Don’t be anxious. Pray instead and receive God’s peace.
- Exodus 23:22 - Listen carefully to me and I’ll fight on your side (God)
- Colossians 3:1-3 - Seek the things above, not that on earth
- Matthew 21:21 - Faith without doubt moves mountains
Care to offer a few of your own favorites?