Life lessons come in all shapes and sizes if we choose to see them as life lessons and learn from them. “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.” (I John 2:24). The word abide in the ancient Greek means to stay, to dwell, to remain. It is knowing the truth and remaining in the truth.
A few months ago I was using the chain saw to cut down a tree that was in the middle of where my garden is going to go. It was the first time I had used the chain saw in a few months so my technique was a bit rusty. Needless to say rusty technique and a chain saw do not go very well hand-in-hand or as my case goes chain saw-in-leg. After using the chain saw for a short time, I pulled it out of the tree I was cutting to check my progress without realizing that my leg was a bit too close. I held the wound closed and limped to the house. I took a picture and was going to send it to my friend who is a nurse and ask her if she thought I needed stitches. I took the picture and then thought, “As a nurse, Danna, if someone sent you that picture what would you tell them…Of course, I would have told them to go get stitches.” I knew the truth, but questioned my ability in making that decision. Six stitches later and now with an unattractive scar on my leg, I learned a lesson about abiding.
Abiding is staying, dwelling, or remaining in the truth. It’s one thing though to know the truth and quite another to act on that truth. I knew the truth “go get stitches,” but did the truth actually abide in me? As I drove myself to the urgent care to get stitches my knowledge turned into action. “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” (I John 3: 17, 18).
True abiding is not talking about good deeds. True abiding is performing good works out of love. As I anticipate my future garden, I think about the poles I will need so I can have some pole beans. These beans grow best as they cling to the pole. They will be the most productive as they cling to the pole. Isn’t that the same thought as abiding in God? The closer I abide, the more I cling, the more productive living out God’s love I will be. The bean does not lose itself because it clung to the pole, rather it became a more productive bean because of the pole.
I could have hoped my leg would heal without going to get stitches, but the reality is that it healed much better with the stitches. The Bible gives us instructions on how to live, but the key is do we listen to those instructions while abiding in Christ and becoming more productive because we were abiding? God does not force us to abide; He simply asks us to abide. The bean can choose to grow on the ground, but the productivity will be diminished.
Abiding produces fruit. Not abiding produces a different kind of fruit. We all chose which fruit we want to produce.
Abiding is a choice.