I’ll be the first to admit, today I needed a post prompt. Life is good, there are things going on, but who wants to read another “It’s Christmastime!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” post? I didn’t really feel like writing one, either.
A couple weeks ago, The Daily Post’s word of the day was “abide,” and that struck my fancy. It’s not a word we typically use in normal conversation. Much like behold or erstwhile or swell or besmirch, abide has become less familiar, and so has its standard meaning. According to our trusty friend, Google, the two must common definitions are:
So basically, I just can’t abide when people don’t abide by the rules! I think I agree with Google that these are the two most commonly used meanings of the word today, but neither were the first thing to pop into my mind. So, Mirriam-Webster and dictionary.com provided further insight: the word is Middle English, and also can mean to wait, to remain, to endure to stay, or to live.
Jesus Christ also used the word abide in John 15 (actually, it’s the Greek word μένω or menō, translated as “abide”). He told his followers,
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” (John 15:4)
Interesting. So abide in this context means to draw from Him our life force. Let’s look further.
“If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.” (John 15:6)
Okay, so not only is Christ our life force, but He is the only life force out there. If you don’t know Christ, these words are starting to sound a little domineering, don’t you think? So let’s see what else he has to say:
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7)
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” (John 15:9-10)
All right, that part’s a little weightier. So if we draw our life force — eh, let’s just say it how it is– if we live in Christ, then we can ask things of Him. Sounds pretty good, right? And then He tells us that He loves us, and that is the reason we can stay with Him.
So many abides. Here’s the gist: my Savior, Jesus Christ obeys God the Father’s commandments and lives in the Father’s love. So He passes it down to me. I obey Christ’s commands and dwell in His love. Of course it’s also important to note that it’s “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5). Okay, so I didn’t invite myself to God’s abode, He invited me — but now I abide there. I follow His commands. Why?
“These things I have spoken to you… that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11)
Because apart from Christ, there is no true joy. I need Him, desperately, daily, minute by minute and hour by hour. He is my lifeblood, my satisfaction, and my love. I plead for Him to abide with me, as I try to abide with Him.
And now we’ve come to my personal favorite use of the word “abide.” It comes in a hymn, a plea for my Savior to just stay; to please be my Helper when the way grows difficult.
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, O abide with me!
I need Thy presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me!
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies.
Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee!
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me!
That’s right. The One I abide in? He sticks around through darkest of nights and brightest of days, through depression and shadow, through storm and glorious mornings, through life and through death. We all abide somewhere. Make sure your abode is lasting.