"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." - 1 John 2:28
Do you ever wake up feeling unsure? Without direction? Like maybe it's all a sham, or perhaps the world is "going straight to hell in a hand-basket" and there's nothing to be done about it?
We all feel that way sometimes. We all have our doubts upon occasion, some more often than not. But here's the thing: God did something about it.
God did a really big something.
God became man. To save us, to purify us, to offer us everlasting joy. That joy's name is Jesus Christ. Maybe you already know all of this or believe all of this, but that nagging little voice in your head that keeps you awake at night is still spewing falsities. How do we regain assurance of our faith? How do we maintain a steady confidence that this is all for real? That God really did come, really did die, really did rise again, erasing our sins and securing for us a new relationship with our Heavenly Father?
It's simple: Abide.
The word "abide" occurs 47 times in the Bible (ESV). The majority of those appearances are written by the disciple John, in his letters 1 and 2 near the end of the Bible. [Looking for some solid assurance? Read through these letters on your own!] Abide in Jesus Christ.
But - how do we abide in him? According to the Scriptures, we abide in him by: "dwelling in the shelter of the Most High" (Psalm 91:1); by "trusting in the Lord" (Psalm 125:1); by "feeding on [his] flesh and drinking [his] blood" (John 6:56); by "walking in the same way in which he walked" (1 John 2:6), by "loving [your] brother" (1 John 2:10); by "doing the will of God" (1 John 2:17); by "keeping his commandments" (1 John 3:23-24). These are just a few examples from many.
Let's put some of those verses into layman's terms. How do we abide in God? By confessing our fears to him and trusting him to keep us safe and guide our futures in what's best for us; by feasting upon his presence and his community (the Church) and especially his word (reading the Bible); by spending focused time in prayer and being a servant of others; by showing kindness and forgiving those who have wronged us; by being obedient to His guidance in all things.
Abiding really is that simple. And according to God's Word, we are promised a HUGE reward in return for our attempt to abide in him: He will abide in us. The Holy Spirit, his Word, his breath and life - these are the things that God promises will abide inside of us if we abide in Him. Is this not a remarkable promise, made completely in our favor? And God never breaks his promises.
Friends, let us strive to abide.
written by Chase Cotten, GAP Program Director