Dear Sister, don’t be swept away by the cultural deception that there is no absolute truth. We, followers of Christ, know better. To me one of the most important things Jesus said was:
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Notice these words:
Abide (Continue in the NAS and KJ)
This order cannot be changed. You can’t be set free unless you know the truth and you won’t know the truth unless you are a disciple that abides or continues in Jesus’ word.
Let’s take these words one at a time.
Abide or Continue
The only way you know you are a disciple of Jesus is if you abide in His word. It is not if you abide you will be my disciples, but if you are my disciples you will abide.
Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them (John 14:21).
We don’t keep his commandments in order to love him, but we love him, so we keep his commandments.
We aren’t working to get salvation or keep our salvation. Because, we are disciples made so by God, we abide.
If we are in Christ (Romans 8) we are abiding in Him. We can’t come out of Christ because we didn’t put ourselves in Christ, God did (1Cor. 1:30). So, we will, if true disciples, always abide with Christ and keep His commandments. Why? Because, “it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Phil. 2:13).
So, because God is working in us, we can do what verse 12 says to do.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil.2:12).
In other words, it is God who is working in us to complete our sanctification and our part is to abide or continue in his word.
Abide means to continue to believe and obey his word. It means to grab hold and cling to his word. It is grabbing and clinging to the end. It is persevering through life’s storms and peaceful times with the same tenacity of grabbing and clinging until you leave this earth and meet Jesus face to face.
You may not have had a radical, life-shaking conversion as the Apostle Paul did, but it is how you continue in the faith and how you end that shows you are a true disciple of Jesus.
I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Rev 3:8
It is receiving this testimony from Jesus, that is abiding: he in us and we in him.
When we abide in his word, we are not swayed from it by Satan’s temptations or the lies, and deception of men, nor by rejection or persecutions. This is evidence then that we are truly disciples and He has come to us in power and dwells through His Spirit in our hearts which enables us to abide or continue in His word.
So, practically, how do we abide or continue in His word?
Here are 6 things I do.
- Take a deep breath and relax, dear Sister. You don’t do this alone; the Spirit is your Helper.
- Pray. Tell the Lord you want your relationship with Him to deepen. You want to spend time with Him, so would He meet you in prayer and the reading of His word. Ask the Spirit to show you new and wonderful things in His word you haven’t seen or understood before.
- Read a portion of Scripture – slowly. Go for quality, not quantity. Dig for gold- don’t rake leaves. Start at the beginning of a book and read straight through it: from beginning to end, reading a portion each day. If you don’t know where to start, start with the book of John. Ask the what, when, why, who, and how questions of the passage. Ask the Holy Spirit to answer these questions for you.
- Apply the passage to your life. Ask yourself what you learned about God and man in this passage? Ask what should you do because of this passage? Ask the Holy Spirit to use it to make you more like Jesus.
- Pray what you have learned back to God.
- Live out in the Holy Spirit’s power what you have learned.
This is what I have learned to do. My prayer is you continue in His word, whatever method you may use.
Next, we will take up the word, disciple. Who is a disciple and what does it mean to be one.
You are loved!