One meaning of the word abide is to remain faithful to something, such as a promise.
Used as an adjective, we find beautiful words like enduring, permanent, steadfast, unshakeable, in its meaning. Why do I call these words beautiful?
Listen to this phrase: an abiding love.
Isn’t that what we all hope for: the enduring, permanent, steadfast, unshakeable love of a friend, a spouse, a child, a Christian, a business partner, someone who will be faithful to their words?
How do we get to be that kind of person?
Well, let’s start with the question: What are we abiding in?
What kind of books are we reading?
What kind of television shows and movies are we watching?
What kind of speakers are we listening to?
What kind of hobbies do we have?
Do these things contribute to building a character of enduring, permanent, steadfast, unshakeable faithfulness to something or someone?
How many times in the day do we simply sit quietly and allow our minds:
to think about God’s goodness towards us and be grateful;
to tell Him how we feel about our circumstances, and ask for His wisdom, His guidance, His help;
to give God room in our hearts for the comfort He longs to place there?
Books, television shows, movies, speakers, maybe even hobbies can distort God’s word until we use their content to support us as we abide in something that we know isn’t okay.
The only measure of what we abide in this: Does it conform to, does it agree with the word of God?
When I say ‘the word of God’, I mean what we read in the Bible. Not what someone says is in the Bible or what we hope is in the Bible, and not a verse taken by itself. No. We need to read the passage or the chapter to understand the full meaning of what is being said.
Often, we may think the problem is time. We just don’t feel we have the time to sit and read. Perhaps we don’t even like to read.
But the Bible isn’t like other books.
The first 2 chapters tell us how God created everything, and declared that it was all good.
The chapters in the middle tell how sin began and how it marred peoples' lives; how God tried to tell them and show them how to live in spite of the temptations to have sinful thoughts, say sinful words, do sinful things; how God loves us, and wants to care and comfort us; how Jesus is coming again; and so much more.
The last 2 chapters tell us how God will restore our world, how sin will be eradicated for all time.
Many look at our world and ask, “Why doesn’t God do something?”
For God to do something today, in this moment, He would have to take away one of the most precious gifts He has given to us - our ability to choose.
Think of all the choices we make in a day: what time to get up in the morning; what we’ll have for breakfast; what to wear today; what route to take to work; what colour to paint the living room; when to weed the garden; what university to attend; who to ask on a date; who to marry; when to have children; who we will trust; who to become friends with; who we will believe; who we will love; who we will hate; who we will forgive; who we will not forgive; who we will laugh with; who we will laugh at; who we will help; who we will leave to struggle alone; who we will walk away from; who we will walk toward.
Think of how many other choices we make every day: the ability to do this would be gone!
God has trusted us with the ability to choose to make our world a better place. He’s ready to help us in every way possible. What a beautiful gift!
God is a loving Father. He draws us to Himself because He loves us with an abiding - enduring, permanent, steadfast, unshakeable - everlasting love.
He waits for us to choose to lovingly abide in Him in return. As a loving Father, He’s filled the Bible with good advice, and a multitude of promises of His faithfulness.
So the question is: What are we abiding in? Who are we abiding in?
As always, the choice is ours.