When I was little I received an illustrated children’s dictionary for Christmas. I enjoyed reading and loved writing stories, so my older brother thought it would be fun for me to broaden my vocabulary. He offered to give me 50 p for each page of new words I learned. I wanted the money (50 p was a lot in those days – I could have got five lots of 10 p mixes with up to 20 sweets in a bag) but not the work that went with it, so I never did earn my 50 p.
So when I was meditating on John 15 with its repeated urging to abide in Christ, I wondered what abide actually meant and how could I do that?
The dictionary definition of abide is to: tolerate, remain, continue. To abide by is to: act upon, remain faithful to.
So to abide in Christ is to continually remain in Him and be faithful to Him. Or to put it another way, to be super-glued to Him; to be so close to Him that it is impossible to tell where I end and He begins. I like the idea of being super-glued to Jesus!
In v 9, Jesus assures me that He loves me like the Father loves Him, so I should remain in His love. How do I do that? The obvious ways are to obey Him, to read the Bible and pray. But I didn’t want it to be a thought that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside but remains a cold suggestion on a page. I want me abiding in Christ to be real.
I got to thinking how Jesus is my Big Brother. Little sisters generally look up to their big brothers and usually go through a phase of hero-worshiping them. There is a nine year age gap between my brother and me, and as I grew up I wanted to copy the things Gary did and sought his approval.
It shouldn’t be any different with Jesus and me. Jesus is my hero because He rescued me from darkness and set me free, and it’s okay to pour everything into worshiping Him because He is God. In the Gospels, I see how Jesus remained in His Father’s love by listening and talking to Him continually through the day (and loving to spend whole nights in prayer with His Dad), and doing whatever the Father asked Him to do. So that is what I need to do: my Big Brother wants me to copy Him as a little sister who adores Him and considers Him her hero.
In v 11, Jesus said that if I abide in His love, the joy that He has will completely fill me. Joy is stronger and better than happiness because it isn’t dependent on circumstances. I first experienced Jesus’ joy bubbling up inside me when I was weak and ill with ME/chronic fatigue and cerebellar ataxia – some days just breathing took every ounce of energy and concentration, yet I knew His joy within. Jesus’ joy is supernatural and it can’t be faked.
Jesus is a safe place to pour all my love and longing, my hopes and my dreams because when I abide in Him, He gives me more of Himself. Isn’t He just the Best?! I do love Him.
Linking up with Faith Filled Fridays