For the past few weeks we have been thinking about what the Bible says gives a person confidence in their relationship with God. We all would like that, wouldn’t we? We want to know if God is happy with us. We want to know that we are secure in our relationship with Him. We want to know that He is not going to change His mind about us. How can we know that? The New Testament has this suggestion: abide in Him.
24 As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life. 26 These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. 27 As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. 28 Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. 29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.1 John 2:24-29
Before we look at what abiding means, let’s notice what God tells us abiding will do for us. 1 John 2:24-29 points out five blessings that come from abiding in God:
- Knowing God. Abiding is about more than knowing stories, so we learn God’s character. We learn that we can trust Him.
- Knowing His promises. God has made promises to us, do we know them?
- Growing in truth. It is God who tells us the truth. Everyone else makes mistakes. God doesn’t.
- No shame between us and God. Shame comes from not knowing how God will respond to our failures. When we know Him, we will know how He feels about our struggles.
- Personal growth in character and influence. Healthy people want to grow. This is what abiding in Jesus does in us.
These are profound blessings. They answer the heart’s cry of anyone who is longing to know God and His love that is found in Jesus. The Bible says that to know these blessings we need to just abide in Jesus. So, how do we abide in Him? John has told us, but Jesus, too, has told us what it means to abide in Him. He says:
7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.John 15:7
The key of abiding in Jesus is the Bible. However, it isn’t knowing the stories about God and Jesus that Jesus is concerned. Knowing those stories is essential for children and those new to the faith. These introduce us to the great God we are introduced to there. However, it is the next step in our spending time in the Bible about which Jesus is talking. The next step is asking these questions of those stories and teachings: What do they teach us about God? and What do they teach us about His thoughts toward us? These are big questions. These are the questions we need answered. We need to know who God is. We need to know what He feels about us. As we spend time in the Bible asking those questions, some clear truths will emerge. God’s goodness, love, mercy, truth, and wonder emerge to us. Spending each day in these truths move them from mental concepts to realities that we trust. We base our lives on who God is to us. If He is abstract, we don’t have much confidence in Him. When He becomes concrete, He is the One in whom we have supreme confidence.
Knowing who God is has an amazing affect on us, but knowing how He feels about us does even more. As we hear how He feels about us, we notice something: our God is a God who makes promises. Yes, God has expressed disappointment when we ignore what is good; but it hasn’t kept Him from making promises to His people. When we know these promises we are assured of His love. How much He must love us to make promises to us!
The Psalmist says, “They (the Lord’s judgments) are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.” (Psalms 19:10) This is the value of abiding. When we seek what the Bible is showing us about who God is and what He thinks about us, we discover this value. It is abiding in this way that we discover confidence in God. What a promise! So, what are we waiting for?!
Something to think about,