In John 15 Jesus said it was the secret sauce of prayer. He said it was also the key to bearing fruit. In fact, He said, do it and you’ll bear much fruit. Don’t do it and you won’t be able to do anything at all for the kingdom. So what’s the “it”? It is abiding.
But sometimes knowing what to do doesn’t mean that I know how to do it. I can order furniture that needs assembly and know what needs to be done–it needs to be assembled. But how to do it? I’ll need some directions for that . . . preferably IKEA type of directions. So while I might know that I need to abide in Christ, it may not be intuitive as to how. My reading in 1 John this morning helped with the “how.”
Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.
(1John 2:24 ESV)
I’m not the brightest bulb in the box so I like If/Then statements. If this, then that. If you do this, then you will realize that. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in Him.
So the gospel, that which I heard in the beginning, is key to abiding in Christ. The imperishable seed by which I was born again, the living and abiding word of God (1Peter 1:23), is the catalyst for communion. If I want to hang out with the living Christ, then I need to be hovering over His living word.
And John goes on to explain why this works the way it does.
But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. . . 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.
(1John 2:20, 27 ESV)
We’ve been creamed. Smeared is the literal term. Smeared by the Holy Spirit. Think of the woman breaking open her flask of expensive perfume and pouring it over Jesus’ head and now imagine the Holy Spirit being poured upon us when we first believed. And just as it was the ointment’s interaction with the air that spread an aroma through the house, it is the Spirit’s interaction with the word of God that creates the active agency of abiding.
We read, He illuminates. We wonder, He enlightens. We have questions, He provides answers. We don’t understand, He teaches. We meditate, He invades our thinking.
Let’s not dumb down the holy habit of reading our Bibles. Let’s not think it is just about reading a few words at the beginning of the day so that the rest of the day will go well. Rather, our daily reading can be that which primes the pump and results in rivers of living water flowing out of our heart–a picture Jesus used to refer to the Holy Spirit (John 7:38-39).
You want to interact with God, interact with God’s word. You want to know how to abide, activate His anointing by abiding in His word. If the Spirit we’ve been anointed with is driven to glorify the Son by leading us into truth (John 14:13-14), then when we open the word of truth we can be confident that He’ll kick into gear. And if we are interacting with the Third Person of the Trinity then you can bet we are abiding with the Second Person of the Trinity . . . and the First.
Abide in Me, Jesus beckons. We abide in Him when His word abides in us. We know real relationship with the risen Son of God when we know the active agency of the indwelling Spirit of God leading us into all truth.
All because of grace. All for God’s glory.