Learning to Abide In Christ
by Alia Fisher
Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “Abide in Christ”. But what does that actually mean? The dictionary definition of abide means to remain, continue, or stay. It would be easy to assume that it therefore means simply to stay close to Him. This is partially true! We are after all, told to pray continually and seek Him with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. But the saying is not to “Abide WITH Christ.” It tell us to “Abide IN Christ”. So while we ARE to remain close to Him, there is a second definition in the dictionary for the word abide. It means to dwell or reside. In other words, we are supposed to dwell in Jesus, to make our spiritual home in Him! This is possible because our bodies are temples of His Holy Spirit. And while He lives in us, we can practice living with a constant awareness of His Presence, listening for His voice, and seeking His will.
Jesus modeled this idea perfectly for us in His relationship with the Father. He constantly sought the abiding kind of relationship with the Father that we are to have with His Holy Spirit in us. We see Jesus constantly seeking the Father’s voice and fellowship. Jesus modeled living not out of His own strength, but through the strength of the Father within Him. In John 14:10 Jesus says, “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I speak I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing His work.” Thus abiding really means not doing ANYTHING out of our own effort! Jesus did not do anything before hearing from the Father. So in our lives, we are actually not meant to do anything unless God gives us the directive or the green light. Truly abiding in Christ means giving Him the reigns over our lives, over our talents, over our purposes, over our sins, and over our romantic relationships.
What is even better, abiding is a restful position! Jesus promised His followers that His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). When we operate on our own strength or efforts, how often we fail! Doing things without His directive and anointing can feel so self-defeating because we almost never succeed and instead waste precious energy toiling and striving. It is only with the power of Christ in us through the Holy Spirit that we are guaranteed victory. So learn to abide, which actually means doing less and instead resting in Jesus’ control.
In order to live an abiding life, time with God needs to be a top priority in your life, because you need to know Him intimately in order to know His will. You also need to learn to recognize His voice and there is no better way than spending time with Him. The other part of abiding means willingly surrendering your own efforts at overcoming sins and surrendering your desire to control relationships, situations, or your plans. The ironic truth in abiding is the less you do, the more He can do in your life on your behalf, and His power to change your situation in infinitely greater than your own. There is simply no power greater than the power of God! So what are those insurmountable obstacles in your life? Instead of doing it on your own strength, striving and toiling, dare to open your hands and surrender your battles to God. Rest in His ability to keep you safe, move mountains, and do the impossible. He wants your burdens to be light!
Alia Fisher is the wife of Wyatt Fisher, Psy.D. She's passionate about Jesus and helping others experience His amazing love and grace.Her devotionals can be found at https://www.christiancrush.com/topics/Devotionals
What areas of your life do you want to abide more in Christ and why?