What does it mean to Abide in God? This scripture can be very confusing. “Abide in me as I abide in you.” This abiding seems to go ‘round in circles and can leave your head spinning. To abide in God is to come closer to Him, to take on His character.
There are a couple of humorous sayings that speak to this. “You can always recognize a genius…. he’s the one with the same views as your own” and – “The apple never falls far from the tree”
In both of these sayings we see the thoughts or actions of one person bringing them closer to another. In the same way we can get closer to God. If we let God shape our thoughts and actions we become more and more like Him, and as children of the heavenly Father, we won’t fall far from the tree.
The apostle John says, “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they [live] in God.” (1 John 4:15)
So how do we grow closer to God? “Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” (1 John 4:16) One word jumps out again and again; “LOVE”. It sounds so simple and yet often times there’s nothing more difficult. In every situation to look like Jesus means to choose love. Not any kind of love. The Love that Jesus models looks like the cross.
“We love because God first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) God loves us unconditionally, despite all the awful things we have done. He continues to Love us. Yet, his love also confronts us for our selfish and rebellious way. Love is not being a push over or weak willed. Love required the strength of God to hold Jesus onto the cross. Love is strong.
If you say you love God, how will you love God? Will you love God’s values and actions? Will you love being with God in prayer, scripture and worship? Love is not an empty sentiment, but a commitment that takes action. Love is a worldview that permeates how we see others.
“God has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” (1 John 4:21). If we seek to love others the way God loves us, we will become closer to others. As we become closer to others we become closer to God. Then one more miraculous thing happens, the closer we get to God, the more we abide in Him and He abides in us.
This abiding in love means abiding in God does kind of go around in circles. Perhaps we can think of it this way; Love leads to love leads to love leads to love. Let’s keep the Love cycle spinning.
May you live a life worthy of the Lord, and may you please him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in knowing God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience and joyfully give thanks to the Father. (Col 1:10-12)
- Your servant in Christ, Pastor Douglas