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ABIDE IN ME

     Abide in Me. What does abide mean? What does it mean to be in Jesus? How can we do this? These were a few of the questions that were churning around in my mind when I first heard the theme for today.

     Well, I decided I first wanted to clarify the meaning of abide. So, as I often do when I have such a factual question, I asked my dear friend Google. The first thing I searched for was the meaning of the original Hebrew word that we translated as abide, which was Meno. Meno means to abide, to remain or to stay. Ah, so to reword the above statement we could say, “Stay in Me” or “Remain in Me.” This means we should never leave it, right? That would be going against the given command. So, to abide in God, we should never leave him, or to stray from Him.

     So, why abide in God? Well, in John 15, we read that in order to bear fruit in this world, we must abide in Him. What does it mean to bear fruit? Well, it simply means to grow in godly character to become more like Christ and reflect the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). And this is where we come to his command to abide: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (John 15:4).

     What happens if we do not abide in Him? Well, according to John 15:6, “If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers, and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned” (John 15:6).

     I like to think of a plant that is rooted in rich soil and a plant that is rooted in nutrient-lacking soil. Which one thrives and brings forth fruit? The one that is abiding, or remaining in the rich, nutrient filled soil. This is what God wants for us.

     So, what does it look like for us to abide in God? Let’s look at John 15:10, where Jesus gives us an image of what it looks like to abide in Jesus. “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”

     We do this through our relationship with God, and through prayer. Remember, we love Jesus because He first loved us (1 John 1:4-9). This task about abiding in God and following his commandments, no matter the circumstance, may seem weary, but remember, “Apart from Christ, we cannot do anything (John 15:5)”. It is only through him, that we thrive, Jesus provides us with the grace and strength. Abide in Me!
              (Tiffany Hayler, haylert@hawaii.edu Kaneohe Congregation)