Abide in Me, says Jesus. (see John 15). And the Father and I will come and abide in you, Jesus taught. And if you are His, then the Spirit will dwell in you, so Paul taught in Romans 8, and elaborated on throughout his epistles. As Easter approaches, and you prepare your heart to celebrate, ponder what Jesus promised before being nailed to the cross.
When Jesus taught His disciples that His going away would prove better than His staying, He had the promised Spirit in mind. In what has come to be known as “The Upper Room Discourse” Jesus reassured His disciples that He had to go–but this did not mean He would leave them as orphans. Rather, the Helper, the Spirit of truth, would come, and then they would then know this plan was good. They would then know that the Spirit indwelling is better.
Though there have been times when my whole being ached from the circumstances of this fallen world, and I wanted nothing more than to crawl up into the Father’s lap, be embraced, and to hear audibly with my ears–yet I must believe Jesus. I must believe that what He says is better truly is better. For now, my longings and aches are met by His inward renewal (see 2 Corinthians 4…always afflicted, yet renewed day by day). And my longings that match Paul’s in 2 Corinthians 5 point me to my proper hope–heaven.
The Spirit Indwelling
“However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness…if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God…you have received a spirit of adoption as sons…the Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God!…”Romans 8:9ff
The inward working of the Spirit is beyond compare. It is so precious and refreshing to those who are His. The same Spirit that was ever with Jesus during His earthly ministry was now sent by Jesus to indwell His disciples.
Pause here to read Luke 4:1-21, then go back and focus on verses 1, 14, and 18. Do you walk around in this same Spirit?
We are given the Spirit of Truth, Who alone is our true Comforter and Helper. We are given the Spirit of love, and sound mind, and discipline or self-control. We are given the Spirit who brings the Light of Christ into our hearts, enlightening us that we may know Him.
He will grow us in understanding, making known to us all that is freely given to us by God (1 Corinthians 2:10-12). He abides in us, helping us cry out to our Father, assuring us of our belonging to Him (Galatians 4:6-7; 1 John 4:13; Romans 8:9-17). He is the stream of living water Jesus promised to all who would believe (John 7:37-39), and He will ever be refreshing and renewing our inner man.
Abide and Become More Real
The Spirit working in your inner man will pull you deeper into abiding, and will thereby pull you away from the culture’s obsession with self-awareness, self-absorpsion, self-seeking… When we fear losing our identity, we must remember where our true life is, hidden in Christ. Let us keep our gaze on Him rather than trying to imagine having life separate from Him, the true Vine.
God is the only Being who is Life. We come to Him, we abide in Him. We cannot continue in the obsession with a ‘self’ that has no relation to Creator, creation, community, family, neighbors, Church, etc. We think it foolish of others to say “I’m the captain of my own ship.” and then we try to captain our own ship. And control the waters.
We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us! (1 John 3:24b)
Jesus draws us with His everlasting love away from human nature’s fallen obsessions. “Follow Me” “learn from Me” and “Abide in Me.” Not by speaking audibly in my ear, as I sit with journal and pen waiting for the day’s instructions; but He is speaking in His Word, will you listen? (Hebrews 1:1-4, and 1 Corinthians 2 are a great meditation!)
O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.George Matheson, March 27, 1842, Glasgow, Scotland.
Photo by Felix Besombes on Unsplash.