Abide in Jesus

By Eimah Behluhvd
The Lord Jesus gave us some advice and said that if you are a believer and disciple of Him then you can do nothing without Him (see John chapter 15). Before he said this, however, He advised us to abide in Him, and He in us. That is a profound and mysterious concept, the idea of abiding, and one that is not discussed much at Sunday church or throughout church history for that matter. In this article I am going to discuss what I believe it is to abide in Jesus, and why it is important for you as a believer and for the Church overall. In fact, abiding in Jesus is the only thing that really matters.

An obscure Christian writer centuries ago once wrote "what inexpressible damage new Christians- for that matter, most Christians- have suffered because of a loss of an inner, spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ". Now this is not so much true of Christians in third world countries, but it is my experience that it is relevant to most believers in North America. I think many are frustrated because they say they can't find the Lord and wish they were closer to Him. If only He were just here in person so they could be with Him. This must be frustrating and disappointing to the Lord because He has given us a means to experience Him via a personal relationship that is much more intimate and accessible than if He were standing right there next to you. Jesus explained that He would be in us and with us, but that it would be a spiritual presence not a physical one (see John 14 through 17).

I know that I had never heard of this before as a Christian until perhaps after twenty years in to my walk with Him, and I feel like I wasted many years before the Lord showed me how to find Him. Going to church I was always taught that you get close to God by reading your bible. Before I get in to this topic let me first say that I love the Bible, and believe it is the inspired word of God. You sure can read the bible and it can lead you close to God, if you know what you are looking for. However, it is true that someone could be a Bible scholar and expert and never know Jesus Christ at all (see John 5). Do you know that some atheists study the Bible looking for material to bash Jesus and Christians with, and they never get close enough to God to realize it.

Let's think about this, if reading scripture is the only way I can get close to God what do I do if I have never been taught to read? This doesn't make any sense at all, just think of all those people in third world countries that walk by the Holy Spirit and are intimate with Jesus Christ (think China, although not third world overall but many parts of it are), and there are many believers like this. One thing the Lord taught me is that He is not the Bible, His words in there are true, but He is much larger than what is written on the pages of scripture (I know some of you are bristling over that, because it is so heretical, right?). The Lord has explained it to me this way that the Bible is like the menu, but the Lord Jesus Himself is the meal. Who goes to a restaurant hungry and just sits there reading the menu all night long? Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life, and the Living Water.

I think the Lord gave me an analogy one time and it really cleared it up for me. I am married, and my wife and I know each other as close intimate friends as well as lovers. Now we didn't arrive at this relationship by writing letters to one another only, and never seeing one another. We spent time together in person, having open discussions and sharing our thoughts and emotions with one another. It is no different with the Lord, to be close to Him you have to go where He is and be in His presence. More on this idea in a moment.

I also think the Holy Spirit gave me another picture explanation of this as well. We can all feel like we know the President of the United States. We have seen him on TV many times, have read about him and so forth, but we really don't know him personally we just know about Him. We never spent time with him personally and really have no idea what he is like or what he thinks about us. It is no different with the Lord Jesus, we can read all about Him in the Bible and know about Him from what other people say, but we really do not know Him at all until we spend time in His presence frequently.

Now on to this idea of how exactly do you spend time in His presence. This is where some of you may start to say this is a hard thing and it might be controversial, and you will be tempted to misconstrue what I am about to explain. But here goes anyway hoping the Lord Jesus can explain it better to you. You see, if you have decided to have a relationship with Jesus Christ He then has decided that He will live inside your spirit (see 2 Corinthians 13, for one). Think about that for a moment, if you belong to Jesus then He really does live inside you and goes everywhere you go. It is like when you look up at the sky in the day time but can't see the stars, they are there you just can't see them until the sun goes down.

Now to some that is a scary idea and they don't want any part of it. As for me, when the Lord started to show me this I got really excited, and Paul even said it was the mystery of the ages (see Colossians 1) this idea of Jesus Christ living inside of people who believe in Him. In fact, did you ever wonder what the phrase "in Christ" really means? That is an interesting study that I will save for another time, what mystery. Now I realized that I was not a good person in and of myself, but I also knew that Jesus has forgiven me of all that and given me a way to come near to Him (Romans talks about this a lot).

Let us take a closer look at this fact, that if you are a Christian Jesus Christ is inside you and closer to you than you are to yourself. As humans the Lord has made us with a body, a soul, and a spirit. The body is easy enough to figure out, especially if you are a fat old man like me, but the soul and spirit can be harder to discern (Peter talks about this in 1 Peter 1). You see there are two parts to us inside, there is a soul and a spirit. You can think of the soul as our personality, as the part of us that interacts with our body and the outside world. Our spirit is much deeper, it is the part of us that gives us will, discernment, and communion with God. Our spirit is not our mind or brain but it is with our spirit where we make contact with God by His Spirit, we are mingled together with Him there in the secret place (see 1 Corinthians 6 and Matthew 5)

Inside our spirit there is a realm that is like a deep pool of a large river, things are quiet and still there and it takes some time to dial down and sense it. This is where the Lord Jesus lives inside of you, and where you will learn to contact Him there. This is the holy of holies, the ark of the covenant, there inside of believers in Jesus. You have a little chapel inside of you where you can go and worship God any time you like, right there in spirit and in reality (see John 4).

This is a big idea, and one that I will not cover in this writing, but as you learn to contact the presence of the Lord Jesus within you then you start to abide in Jesus. This is the Kingdom of God within you (see Luke 17). Please realize, dear reader, that this is not something you will to do on your own. This is a grace that the Lord teaches you, as you are persistent in being a disciple of His. This is interesting that the word disciple comes from our word for discipline. In the Greek writings of the New Testament the word for disciple is a root word that means to listen. So being a true disciple is one that learns to listen to the Lord, and be obedient to follow His voice. More on this in future writings.

This is the idea of what it is to abide in Jesus. Just as a grape branch clings to the main vine so you and I are to do the same with the presence of Jesus Christ within us. All the branch does is cling, or abide, in that vine and it receives all the nourishment it needs to grow and eventually produce grapes. Apart from that main vine the grape branch can not be fruitful and grow. But all it needs to do is just cling and pull in the nutrients and it grows just as a byproduct of clinging. You and I are to learn how to do the very same thing with the Lord Jesus Christ who lives in us. There is a way to learn how to do this, it is not the only way, but a very effective and simple way to learn how to abide that anyone can do. I will cover this in detail in future writings. If you just can't wait for this then I recommend you purchase the book "Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ" and read it several times over, and that is all I am going to write on this for now.

Abiding in the Vine of Jesus Christ is the One Thing that every Christian needs to focus on, work at, and get good at (see Luke 10). But what about living a holy life and doing good works, you say? No question that this is the fruit of the Christian life that is real evidence that you are indeed abiding in Jesus. However, you must keep first things first, and you can not bear lasting fruit unless you are abiding in the true Vine. Remember, you can truly do nothing apart from Jesus. You may think you are doing good things and the right thing, but unless you are abiding in Him He is going to say He never knew you (see Matthew 7 and 26). You must focus on the Vine not on the fruit, it can't be the other way around. The first commandment is first for a reason, and the second commandment follows, again, more on this idea at a future writing.

I really think that the Lord is expecting to come back when the church is powerful by abiding in Him. When I read Revelation I don't see a weak and impotent church clinging by their finger nails just waiting around for Him to rescue them and pluck them out of this bad place. No, not all, I see His Church living in love by abiding in the Vine, a being a very powerful and influential presence on the earth. I really believe that He is waiting for us to just do that, collectively as a Church to abide in Him, until He decides to unfold the events of His return. No need to worry about church programs, building sprawling campuses, saving the lost, or worrying about whether the world will end in 2012 (which it won't, just in case you were wondering). You want the Lord to comeback quickly? Then start abiding in Him and tell your friends and neighbors how to do this as well and the works of the ministry will be a natural byproduct. This is another great topic to save for another day.

An awesome thing happens as you and I focus our efforts on abiding in Jesus, we end up indeed knowing Him, which is how He defines eternal life (John 17). You also start to experience Him as an outstanding and wonderful person, and His personality, and find out how much He really does care for you. Not only that, you get to experience His joy, peace, kindness, tranquility and feed off of this as your own personal experience of living and let this overflow and ooze out to everyone you meet. You will have people ask you why you are so happy all the time. At this point you can begin to fall in love with Him, and a person in love will do anything for their Beloved. This is what every Christian needs to do, abide in the Vine, fall in love with the person of Jesus, and you will be bearing fruit without ever realizing it and enjoying an abundant life at the same time. I can't say I have arrived at this yet, but I have indeed tasted it and It is good (see Psalm 34).

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