Living Our Lives In Him
1John 2:28 ¶ And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he is revealed we may have confidence and not be put to shame before him at his coming.
As disciples we are challenged to grow up spiritually. We begin as little children and we come with childlike faith but there is so much more in store for us as we grow in him and this is the challenge, to “abide in him.” This is the very act of living our lives every single day in the Lord. The result of living in him is that when we meet him face to face there will be no fear, for we have been united with him in the journey.
John has been informing us about the importance of discipleship in the lives of those who are following Christ. The relationship with the Lord must be one of constant and on-going growth. The whole idea of disciple-making is an active and continual on-going activity without end. This is what God wants from us, his followers, who are not just following, but also learning for at the root of the word disciple we also find a student, one who follows and learns from the teacher.
In a practical sense, then, we need to think about what it means to “abide in him.” While I’ve mentioned the idea of growth and movement in discipleship there is also something rather static sounding about “abiding.” I believe the “static” part of abiding is that it is constant and continual. This is not a journey where you hop on and hop off.
I travel an awful lot these days and as I make my way through airports there are many moving walkways. If I choose to use one of these, I commit myself to getting on. I must abide on the moving walkway or else I’m going to hurt myself trying to get off somewhere in the middle. Therefore there is a sense of trusting in the system and abiding there. However, at the same time I can choose to simply stand there and let the walkway move me along, or I can join in the activity and walk on the walkway that is moving and end up travelling at some pretty fast speeds.
First of all I have to commit myself to the journey. I have to get on with it! Am I willing to be on the journey with our Lord, and if so, I need to stay there and journey with him throughout life. The results of jumping off the journey are just as harmful as it would be for me to decide to jump off the moving walkway half-way through where there is no exit. Abide — jump in and stay there. It’s worth the trip.
Once I am abiding I have a choice to make regarding the speed at which I’m willing to travel. You may step to the right and stand for the journey. The result is that you travel at a smooth slow pace, pulled along by the grace of God. You will reach your destination but you won’t get everything out of the trip that you could have, had you put a little of your own energy into it.
For those who are abiding in him, on the journey, who really want to know him at a deeper level, we are challenged to participate in the spiritual disciplines. Just like I can participate in the journey on the moving walkway, so we can participate in the journey with our Lord. By abiding in the word, abiding in study, abiding in prayer, and abiding in living like Jesus in the world we move even faster and draw closer to him, looking more and more like him.
Our world desperately needs to see the real Jesus at work. They will only see him through committed followers who are abiding in him, willing to put in the effort to look more and more like him so that Jesus is clearly seen on a daily basis. This is abiding. This is how we live our lives in him.
Lord, please help me to continually abide, live and grow in you. Amen.