John 15:4 (ESV)
The word "Abide" kind of takes on the connotation of just chilling and relaxing. It is not a word that we use everyday. However, I would like to point out that it is a verb, and really a commandment from Jesus that we find in John 15. It is not a suggestion or merely an option. It is a statement that goes hand in hand. When you abide in me, I will abide in you. You can't have Him, without Him having you!
Knowing now that Abide is a verb, let's look at the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of the word. It means to endure without yielding. To accept without objection. To conform to. To wait for.
I know at first glance the above definitions do not appear to have much action associated with them. They seem to be kind of mellow and just accepting. However, it is a transitive verb, which basically means that it is used with an object or noun, and that it refers to a person that is affected by the verb.
I am the furthest thing from an English teacher. I struggle with where to place comma's in sentences. I do find this very interesting though, as based on the definition, it appears that this is referring to us being affected by Jesus.
Not only am I not an English teacher, but I am not an Arborist (tree expert). I do know enough to realize that my trees and shrubs need pruning from time to time, as they will get sucker branches that grow off of the true branch. These sucker branches are sort of like lamprey's that are parasitic in nature. They steal the nutrients from the true branch, and are along for a free ride. They serve no purpose, and in turn offer nothing in return. So in the above John 15 passage, we see that unless the branch is grafted into the vine, then it can serve no purpose on its own, and produce no fruit. In verse 1 of John 15, we see where Jesus says that His father is the vinedresser, and He prunes and takes away any branch that does not bear fruit.
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty."
Psalm 91:1 (ESV)
That passage above happens to be one of my favorite in the Bible (next to Titus 3:3-7 of course). The Psalmist (King David) writes that if I abide under the protection/shelter of God, then I will be protected in the shadow of the Almighty. That shadow is someplace that I want to not temporarily reside, but set up permanent shop. I want to be right next to God and His shadow overtaking me.
I used to travel all over this country every other week for 8 years straight. I got to see a lot of sights, but it got very old staying in a different hotel room every night. When you look back at the Psalm 91 passage, this is not meant to imply a temporary dwelling. Sure there are times that it might feel that way, as we all go through spiritual dry spells of "feeling" alienated by/from God, but thankfully our relationship with Him is not based on emotions or our feelings. He wants us to not view our dwelling with him as temporary, but rather a permanency that can only come through surrendering our all to Him as Lord of our life.
Matthew Henry in his commentary states: "That all those who live a life of communion with God are constantly safe under his protection, and may therefore preserve a holy serenity and security of mind at all times. 1) It is the character of a true believer that he dwells in the secret place of the Most High. 2) It is the privilege and comfort of those that do so that they abide under the shadow of the Almighty; he shelters them, and comes between them and everything that would annoy them, whether storm or sunshine."
“But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.”
I John 2:27 (ESV)
We see from the above passage that we receive an anointing from His Holy Spirit, as a direct result of Him abiding in us. This means that he teaches us, all while leading guiding, and directing our path. His Holy Spirit is what give us POWER in Christ. We are able to have discernment over good versus evil, as well as being tapped into hearing His still small voice of correction and encouragement.
What happens if we do not abide in Him? Well we can see some of that in the very next verse from what we just read. Let's look at verse 28:
“And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.”
I John 2:28 (ESV)
So if you read that above passage in the inverse, we see the consequences of not abiding in Him. If we shrink back and don't abide in him, it basically reads that we will not have confidence in our salvation, and will cower in shame before Him. I don't know about you, but that does not seem very appealing to me. It sort of reminds me what Adam & Eve did in the Garden of Eden, when they disobeyed the direct order from God. May we learn from them, and not follow in their footsteps. I am very willing to set up permanent residency in Him, as I know that He has in me, as my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit!
Are you a lamprey that is just along for a parasitic free ride, or do you desire to be that branch that is grafted fully in the vine by Abiding in Him?