Summary: 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 Oh, abide with me. by William Monk, Abide With Me” (1861)
Abide in Me (John 15:7)
Recently someone sent me a very meaningful sympathy card following my Mother’s funeral that comforted my heart. The card merely contained the words to the great hymn
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,
Oh, 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
Oh, abide with me.
by William Monk, Abide With Me” (1861)
Even though that song is great I believe the burden of abiding is not on the Lord but on us. As Jesus giving us a promise when He says, “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.”
Perhaps the greatest need for Christians today is to develop a higher spiritual discipline of abiding in Christ and His word. Many studies show that around 5% of those who make decisions at evangelistic crusades continue in their walk with Christ five years later. Some bemoan the fact that even though church attendance holds steady at around 40% in America, personal holiness is on the decline as are morals.
Even though it is great to be able to think and reason with Biblical accuracy there is something even more important and that is abiding in Jesus.
Many of the things we think we need are symptomatic of a far more serious problem. There is a deeper need to know, commune and fellowship with the Lord on a moment-by-moment basis. Surely this is seen in the quality and persistence of our praise and prayer discipline.
Many Christian leaders know how to write, preach, teach, organize, develop evangelistic strategies and administer programs, but many have forgotten to pray without ceasing.
Illustration: Jon Piper writes, “Several years ago at a North American seminary, fifty students planning to go overseas in ministry for the summer were interviewed for their suitability. Only three--six percent--could testify to regular quiet times of reading the Bible and devoting themselves to prayer.
We assume that our pastors and missionaries are the models--we would be shocked I am afraid.”
We need to develop a progressing maturity in our prayer life that will transform us, deepen us and purify us with the mind and power of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ.
Jesus provides us with a conditional promise in this verse. That is if we want to see our prayers answered we must abide in Him and let His word abide in us. That means to cling to Him and His word with trust, obedience and communion with our God. We need a deeper, more personal and more biblical communion with God in prayer so we can grow more in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. (2 Pet 3:18)
This means that we need to find ways to incorporate a greater quantity and quality of private prayer, small group prayer, congregational prayer, fasting and prayer, praise prayer, confessional prayer, requisition prayer, intercessory prayer, healing prayer, and institutional prayer for our schools, seminaries and training institutes – all for the purpose of abiding in Him and allowing His word to abide in us.
1. If you want to be what God wants you to be it is necessary to abide (remain, dwell and gain your nourishment) in Him and to allow His word to dwell richly in your mind. How much time and effort do you spend in memorizing and meditating on His Word. God told Joshua, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you will meditate on it, day and night so that you may be careful to do, for then you will make your ways prosperous and then you will have good success.” (Joshua. 1:8)
The best way to allow Jesus to abide in you is by allowing His word to fill your mind, heart, soul and emotions with His perspective. Often this means being creative. Paul wrote, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly with all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with songs and hymns and spiritual songs. Singing and making melody in your hearts and whatever you do in word or deed do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. (Col. 3:16,17)
The branch cannot bear fruit unless it gains all of its minerals, nutrients and support from the Vine. Too many of us take our relationship with Jesus for granted and fail to appropriate the rich reservoir of resources that are available to those who gain a deeper spiritual overflow of His Life into ours.
Illustration: To meditate means to have a mental, spiritual and emotional mastication on God’s word. Just as a cow chew grass and then swallows it to stomach number one for greater digestion and absorption so we need to allow time, energy and focus to be put on God’s word so that it has adequate time to renew, recharge and reconstruct our minds.