I’ll be honest, the promise of John 15:7 once had a great appeal to me. Who wouldn’t want to receive what they are in need of or desire? But, I didn’t understand the word abide. I mean, I knew the definition of it, but what did it mean to truly abide? Because, the promise of the verse hinges on the first half of the verse. Then, the question becomes am I learning to abide (however that happens) in order to receive the promise of this verse? Hmmm….
In searching out, for years, what it means to abide, it became more allusive to me. I read books, heard podcasts and watched videos, but mostly they spoke of all the wonders of abiding. But, what does it mean to truly abide in Him and have His Word abide in me? Perhaps my struggle to understand what it means to abide stemmed from looking for a formula to apply, so that I could receive the promises of this verse. (Painful truth alert) So I can have the gifts rather than the gift giver. Ouch!
So, abide….what does it mean? Rest. But not just a passive rest, though that’s good too, but an active rest. Pursuing Him, to sit in His presence and to just soak in His glory…for no other reason than to just be near Him, because He is everything to us and for us.
But what about the promise in the verse? I’m finding, as I’m still pressing in to know the depth of this wonder to “abide,” that when I seek Him first, with my whole heart, and rest in Him, the promise of “all that I ask for” carries less meaning to me, in the earthly, fleshy sense. No longer is pursuing Him about the things I thought I needed or wanted, but it’s about Him… all about Jesus and our Father. It’s a shift from a temporal to an eternal perspective.
In pursuing to rest in Him, we begin to grasp that all we ask for can and will be done, but the weight of that reality hits us too. So, He helps us to slow down and begin to really evaluate what we’re asking for. Do the things I’m seeking glorify Him? Time for a real, a deep and not always so pretty heart check. We begin to ask the Holy Spirit to shake loose all our desires that would not please or glorify our Father. But, this desire to give up our fleshly desires only comes from the desire first to abide in Him and have His Word abide in us.
His Word abiding in us…I believe begins with spending time in and studying His Word. Then, allowing His Word to spend time in us, and allowing it to soak deep into our heart and mind, so that it can help us receive the life transforming impact that God desires for us. This also allows for us to know His Word, His heart, His character, His promises…really to know Him better, so when we ask for something it will be more in line with His will and what pleases Him rather than pleasing ourselves.
What are some of the benefits of abiding in Him and His Word abiding in us? Rest. Peace. Love. Joy. Comfort. Guidance. Provision. Shelter. Security. Confidence. Healing. And, all the promises of God. While these are being freely poured out for us, I think it’s when we press into the greatest blessing of knowing and being with Him that we actually can feel and experience all His outpouring. We gain the kind of faith that is less shaken, less fleeing and more sure, simply because we get a greater glimpse of the Promise Giver.
Why is it important to abide in Him? I believe it’s because until we do find rest in Him, we are restless. We will seek things that we think will give us peace and rest, but there just isn’t anything that can replace the true rest and peace we get in and through Him. In resting or abiding in Him, we then realize what our needs are verses our wants and we learn to desire His will rather than ours and to seek His pleasure rather than our own.
As I continue learning and pressing in, I’m thankful that God has been so patient with me as I’ve sadly, over the years, sought His blessings more than Him…not realizing He is the greatest blessing I could ever receive. Selah.
Praying you have a day that is filled with Him, the Creator of all things and the lover of your soul. May we spend time each day, not just this week, but all year, remembering what Jesus did that we can now have the gift of both drawing closer to Him for all eternity and all the promises of His Word.
I hope this stirs a longing in your heart to draw closer to the One that loves you more than you could ever hope for or imagine, because His desire is to draw closer to you.