Abiding (Part 2)
Last week, we examined some of the definitions of the word abide (according to merriam-webster.com) and how Scripture verses on abiding in YHVH address each definition. We discovered that there is more to the word abide than is obvious at first glance. Here is a brief recap of last week’s blog. Abide can mean “to await”. We must await, or be on the lookout for, YHVH’s call to us so that we can respond promptly. Abide can also mean “to bear patiently or tolerate”. We must be willing to embrace opposition, persecution and suffering for the sake of our relationship with YHVH. A third definition of abide is “to accept without objection”. We must be yielded unconditionally to YHVH’s will for us.
Now, let us examine the final two definitions of abide to see whether Scripture also deals with these definitions. A fourth definition of abide is “to remain stable or fixed in a state”. In John 15:4-9, Yeshua explains what it means to abide in Him in this way.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
Branches on a fruit tree or a vine do not produce fruit by concentrating on the peaches or the grapes they are to produce. In other words, they do not sit on the vine or the tree and repeat “peaches, peaches, peaches, I must produce peaches,” but rather they are so connected to the branch or vine that they naturally produce the desired fruit. If we abide in Yeshua continually, then we will produce the fruit that Yeshua expects from us because Yeshua Himself will supply the fruit in us.
Notice also that the branches that do not produce fruit are gathered up and thrown into the fire. Many of us have the idea that if we have accepted Yeshua, we are “saved” and nothing else is required. If we half-heartedly read our Bible or pray occasionally, we will not produce the fruit that Yeshua is expecting from us. We then become useless branches to be gathered up and thrown into the fire. It is not enough to accept Yeshua once and think that is all that is required. We must continue to abide in Him, which means to be closely connected to Him in an intimate relationship.
In the physical realm, a branch that is separated from the vine or tree cannot be reconnected nor will it produce fruit. It will wither up and die and be thrown into the fire. In the spiritual realm, we may be able to separate from Yeshua for a time and then be re-attached later, but what is the result of such choices? When we separate from Yeshua, we automatically attach to the enemy. We will always produce fruit of one sort or another. The fruit of the enemy is an abomination to YHVH. When we stand before YHVH one day, we do not want to be associated with the enemy’s fruit. The fruit of the enemy is designed to try to undermine or weaken the kingdom of YHVH. We cannot serve two masters (Luke 16:13).
The final definition of abide is “to continue in a place” or “sojourn”. If Yeshua has returned to His Father in heaven and we are still here on the earth, how can we sojourn with Yeshua?
Therefore, if you have been raised up with Messiah, keep seeking the things above, where Messiah is, seated at the right hand of YHVH. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Messiah in God. (Col 3:1-3)
I recently heard a teaching at a class I am attending at Catch the Fire that illustrates how closely we are blended or melded with Yeshua. You are probably familiar with the story of the Israelites in the desert who were being bitten by poisonous snakes. YHVH had Moses make a bronze serpent on a pole. Those who were bitten by the snakes could look at the bronze snake and be healed. Many of us recognize that the serpent on the pole symbolizes Yeshua on the cross, taking on our sin and diseases and putting them to death in His body. But why a bronze serpent? Why not some other metal? Bronze is made by mixing tin and copper together. Once these two metals are united, they can never be separated.
Once we have been smelted with Yeshua, we can never be separated from Him. If Yeshua died on the cross, then we died with Him and we arose with Him triumphant from the grave. We are seated with Yeshua at the right hand of the Father. (Gal 2:20; Rom 6:4-6; Eph 2:6). In Colossians 2:20, we are admonished not to abuse our exalted position in Messiah. You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world….
We must be ever mindful that we are blended with Yeshua and in Him we are exalted in glory. Therefore, we must live a glorious life as Yeshua did. Yeshua was constantly aware of His Father and saw His Father at work. Yeshua did the works of His Father (John 5:17, 9:4). We, who are seated in Yeshua at the right hand of the Father, must also do the works of our Father.
Scripture shows us that the word abide has much depth and meaning to us who are in Yeshua. It is not a word that we should skim over lightly for it contains a treasure trove of encouragement and instruction for us. Now when we read the word abide in Scripture, we can remember who we are in Yeshua and what it means for us to abide in Him and for Him to abide in us.