3 Ways Abiding in Christ Can Change You: Keeping

Copy of abide

I have three grandsons. They are all born to the same parents and they all live in the same household. Yet they each have a distinct personality.

One of the ways they differ is in their “cuddle factor.” One grandson prefers to be loved from afar. You need to grab a hug and then let him go. Even as a toddler, he would often try to wriggle from my grasp. Another grandson loves to be held. He is generous with hugs and loves to snuggle during storybook time. The third grandson is somewhere in the middle. He will tolerate hugs, but not too many.

In my own spiritual life, I sometimes act like each of these grandsons. Let me explain.

During my study of the word “abide” I began with John 15:5:

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.

I learned that the Greek word translated abide in that verse is the word meno. I was surprised that one of the meanings of meno is “to be held, kept, continually.”

In my previous blog post on abiding, I talked about how my focus has often been on producing fruit instead of abiding. I have concentrated on doing “important” things for God, instead of staying connected to Christ.

But the meaning of the Greek word for abide informs me that not only can I not produce fruit on my own, I cannot even abide in my own strength. To abide is not to hang on tight, but “to be held.”  To abide is not continually keep my grip on Christ, but “to be kept.”

3 WaysAbiding in ChristCan Change Your LifeKeeping

What’s the difference?

I am not the one doing the holding or the keeping. Jesus is.

South African pastor Andrew Murray puts it this way in his book Abiding in Christ:

The soul has but to yield itself to Him, to be still and rest in the confidence that His love has undertaken and that His faithfulness will perform the work of keeping it safe in the shelter of His bosom.

and

Abiding in Jesus is nothing but the giving up of oneself to be ruled and taught and led, and so resting in the arms of Everlasting Love.

I have to admit that I am often not very good at this abiding thing. I am often much more like the grandson who resists being held. It seems too passive–too static. Give me a four-point plan and I’m ready to take action. But to sit still and listen to the Lord? To admit I can’t do it by myself? That’s hard to embrace. (Pun intended.)

I’m asking God to help me be more like the grandson that loves to be held. To teach me to rest in His love. To give me the strength to give myself up to “be ruled and taught and led.”

Abiding is keeping. But it is not my keeping. It is God’s keeping, protecting, and holding my soul. My job is to not wriggle away from His grasp. To not resist His hold on my life.

Next step: Write a prayer thanking God for His strong and loving hold on your life. Ask Him to teach you to abide in that love and to not wriggle away from His grasp.

 

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