“Abide in Me” (John 15:4).
What does it mean to abide? How do we do it? These are vital questions, for those not abiding in Christ are gathered up and thrown into the fire and burned (John 15:6). Moreover, there can be no true fruit except it comes from the True Vine in whom we are abiding (John 15:5); it is His fruit, not ours. The outcome of any activity that does not come from abiding in Christ, is fruitless.
Unless we are abiding in Christ, in the shelter of the Most High, then we are in the world and under the rule of Satan, in the kingdom of darkness. Outside of the True Light, who is a Person, we are in the realm of darkness, that is, the spirit of the world, who is also a person. We must choose where we abide; in the True Light, Christ Jesus, or in darkness, which is the absence of the True Light. It is critical to know where we are abiding; the scripture describes Jesus as the True Light, which carries with it the implication that there is a light that is not the True Light. Jesus Himself warned us that there is a false light that is, in fact, darkness, and if we have that false light instead of the True Light, “how great is the darkness” (Matthew 6:23). It is absolutely vital therefore, that we learn to discern the True Light from the false light, or darkness.
The soul is the seat of our desires, our wishes and our wants; these are called ”lusts” in the Bible, but they are just ordinary, everyday wishes that all men and women have. We should be careful for what we wish, for our wishes and desires impact upon our soul. Our soul must be submitted totally to the Lordship of Christ. The life of the soul, all our senses, must be under His direction and meet with His approval and be acceptable in His sight. If we don’t abide in Christ we will be drawn, or enticed, by our own desires into the world, which is the realm of Satan; unrighteousness, wickedness and every evil thing will quickly follow.
To abide in Christ means to be so consumed with the presence of Christ, that our lives are a reflection of His; that in all our senses and activities, what we see, what we hear, what we say, what we think, what we do, are all exactly as He would do, see, think, hear, speak; and that any departure from His standards in matters of our soul will bring us immediately under conviction, so that we will be led straight away to repentance and beg for His forgiveness.
Abiding in Him, however, is only one part of the transaction; “If you abide in Me and My rhema abides in you, ask what you wish, and it shall become to you” (John 15:7).
His rhema is to abide in us; what does this mean?. His rhema is the word proceeding from His mouth; it is the particular word that the Holy Spirit quickens in the heart; it is from the logos but it is uniquely brought to life in the heart of a believer to guide, confirm, or teach. For the Word to abide in us presupposes that we have put some effort into getting it there in the first place. The Word does not mystically manifest out of the ether; the Word must be planted in the mind, like seed in a field; only then can it grow and bear fruit and bring life.
“Abiding in Christ” is another way of saying “living in the spirit”, and we know that we are abiding in Him because our prayers are answered. Our prayers themselves will reflect the fact that we are abiding in Christ, because they will be prayers that He Himself would pray; they will be less about us, and the things of this world, and more about God and the things of His kingdom.
The world, and its ways, is the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; it is evil and poisonous to faithfulness, righteousness and holiness. We are called to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Life, which is Christ Jesus, not of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which is the world, and which leads to damnation.
Jesus told Nicodemus; “That having been begotten from the flesh, is flesh, and that having been begotten from the Spirit, is Spirit” (John 3:6). In other words, that which we do in the flesh is for the dispensation of time only; it has no eternal value. Only that which is done by the Holy Spirit working in us, is for eternity.