Abide With Me

vine branches

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

1 John 4:16

“Abide in Me,” Jesus says. 

The words “Abide with Me” to the tune of the hymn have been playing in my mind, over and over again. This season has had many ups and downs. I find that I keep praying for many things or situations to occur or change in my present and in my future when I am realizing the one thing I truly need more of is Jesus. No matter the situation, I need God’s personal presence in every part of my life, and this is a song that pleas for it at the end of every verse–Abide with me. I hope it brings encouragement to you as well.

The other evening, I was praying before going to sleep: How do I live Your word? How do I get a deeply fulfilling love relationship with You? How can I bless You and those around me?

The next morning, John 15 was the next chapter in my reading plan. A passage I have read so many times in the past– and in full transparency may have skimmed over–  was like new to me. It was as if I were reading it with new eyes. The words came off the page with new interest because God answered those questions from the night before.  

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I 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, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

John 15, emphasis added

I put in bold the phrases that stuck out to me–Abide in me, and I in you, words, bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing, my Father is glorified that you bear much fruit, Abide in my love, so have I loved you, if you keep my commandments, my joy may be in you, your joy may be full. 

My study Bible states that to “Abide in me means to continue in a daily, personal relationship with Jesus, characterized by trust, prayer, obedience, and joy.” It is living each day with our eyes fixed on Jesus, and trusting His word and sovereignty. Apart from Him, we do not receive the inner joy or the love He speaks of. Abiding with Him requires trusting Him to carry us as we walk with Him by praying, reading his word, and following His commandments. 

In prayer, it is letting Him into even the little places of our hearts. What I mean by this is oftentimes we pray for the big glaring thing right in front of us. Walking with Him or abiding with Him is letting Him into every part of our day and every part of our thoughts: big and small, helpful and hurtful, dreams and disappointments, questions and sorrows, laughter and tears, confusion and clarity. Talking to Him through it rather than hiding it away. 

Another way we can let Him in is through stillness. Being still in front of Him and His word, and simply listening is an act of abiding in Jesus. It requires stillness to let ourselves be moved by what He presses into us, to be moved by the Holy Spirit, and letting that fill us. This gives us the opportunity to experience joy no matter the circumstances. Sometimes being still is not easy with my thoughts literally exploding onto the table in front of me. Sometimes my emotions feel so big I cannot calm my heart and the whirlwind inside. In those moments, I can choose either to get up and walk away or push through by picking up scripture and meditating on His words over and over until my thoughts and feelings grow quiet and His presence calms them: Abide in me. 

I need Thy presence every passing hour.

What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?

Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?

Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

“Abide” is also a call to action. We are choosing to abide in him, to think and walk with, speak to, and listen to Him. Those actions bring about an outpouring of faith or as in this chapter states, “fruit.” That fruit is desiring what Jesus desires in order to advance His kingdom. It is maturing daily into someone more like Christ who keeps His commandments, walks in wisdom and loves others fully. It is who we are in Christ and how we treat others in Christ. Abiding in Him carries so much power and is an open door to growing in Him whose hands are open for us to hold onto as we walk with him. 

So, How do I live Your word? How do I get a deeply fulfilling love relationship with You? How can I bless You and those around me?

It is answered simply: Abide in Me.

Here are the lyrics to the hymn “Abide with Me.” Song options are at the bottom:

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word,
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.
Come not in terror, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings;
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea.
Come, Friend of sinners, thus abide with me.
Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,
And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee.
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me

Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.

Psalm 73: 23-28

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