John 15:7: If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Have you ever just sat back and watched people and their positioning? Have you noticed how the back seats fill up first at church but the front seats are the high-dollars seats at a theatre? At work people want the corner offices. At dinners people want to sit at tables where the powerful or wealthy are seated. Let’s face it, there’s no place worse than the back of the line (especially at the grocery store).
The Word has a lot to say about position. We’re all familiar with the teachings on servantship and Christ’s statement that the last shall be first and the first shall be last. Yet I still don’t see many running to get to the end of the line. As I read John 15:7, I realized Christ is giving us another glimpse of proper positioning. We can stop trying to figure out how to get ahead and run into Him. The key word in the verse is abide.
Webster’s Dictionary’ description of abide:
- (v. i.) To stay; to continue in a place; to have one’s abode; to dwell; to sojourn; — with before a person, and commonly with at or in before a place.
- (v. i.) To wait; to pause; to delay.
- (v. i.) To remain stable or fixed in some state or condition; to continue; to remain.
- (v. t.) To wait for; to be prepared for; to await; to watch for; as, I abide my time.
- (v. t.) To endure; to sustain; to submit to.
- (v. t.) To bear patiently; to tolerate; to put up with.
- (v. t.) To stand the consequences of; to answer for; to suffer for.
This simple word has a complex meaning that involves not only place, but time, endurance, patience, stability. It’s as if God is saying, “No matter what. . .stay put in me.” The essence of the word is that you are going to move in—live in Him. Yes, you are going to set up housekeeping in Him. He’s not offering you an overnight guest room or a week’s condo for a vacation—this is a full-time residence in Him. You and all your stuff (yes, that baggage you can’t seem to part with) is all moving into Him because you have no plans to go anywhere else. You are putting down roots and setting up housekeeping in Him. He becomes your safe haven, your security, your place of rest, community, love, sharing, refuge and shelter—IN PLACE—IN HIM.
When you are abiding in Him, His Spirit will talk with you, lead you, guide you—His words will abide in you. I thank God for the memory verses my parents instilled in me at an early age because it gives voice to God’s Spirit. Because His words are in me, the Spirit can use the Word to stop me, encourage me, guide me. His commands are my guide.
But more than all the benefits of abiding and being led by His Spirit through the Word, there’s a promise . . . “you can ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.” Now maybe there’s nothing on your prayer list that you want God to do for you, but I cry out daily to the Lord for answered prayer in my life. And because of John 15:7, I move closer to Him. I’ve moved from abiding in to clinging to Him. I don’t want any wind to move me from Him. I study His word more and pray more because I want my prayer answered more than I want food to eat. I claim this promise for my life and thank Him that I can know my answer is on the way. He promised. I abide. I believe. He will answer.
Christ goes further to explain the motivation for abiding: Love.
John 15:9-11 Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also 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. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
Have you ever watched a young couple in love? They are inseparable. They can’t sit close enough together or spend too much time together. They embody the sense of abiding. They will be together if at all possible. They will do things together. They are in lock step with one another. Next thing you know, you will see them setting up housekeeping together. . abiding. Love opens the door to abiding.
Is Christ someone you have heard about, think must have been a great guy, an important figure in history. . .or is He the love of your life. Fall head over heels in love with the Savior. Do what He asks of you (which is easy if you love) and move right on into an abiding with Him. Not only will your prayers be answered, but your joy is also going to be full. Joy isn’t dependent upon circumstances; it’s all about your position: abide in Him.
ABIDING. . . .position, patience, stability. . .waiting on and with Him.