Abide – Part 1

You might recall that my one word for 2022 is “abide.” Over the next several posts, I will be talking about abiding in the Lord, using Scripture as our basis.

Let’s start with the definition of the word abide. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, abide can mean “to remain stable or fixed in a state; to continue in a place.”

The reason why I chose this word for 2022, is because I want to learn to abide in Jesus. I want to remain stable and fixed in Jesus. I want to continue in the Lord. I want to abide in Him and He in me.

I believe we often go through life in our own strength. We forget that we can rely on the Lord. When we learn to abide in Him, we also learn to live through His grace.

This year I have worked on memorizing John 15:4-5, where Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, 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, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

For today’s post we are going to dig a little deeper into those two verses.

A note before we get started. The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew. The New Testament was originally written in Greek. It has been translated to English and many other languages since then. The two main types of translations we read today are word-for-word (such as the New King James Version) or thought-for-thought (such as the New International Version). For these posts, I am going to focus on the New King James Version (NKJV) mainly because it uses the word “abide.” Some of the more modern versions, like the New International Version (NIV), have translated the word “abide” to the word “remain.”

“Abide in me and I in you.” – What did Jesus mean when He said that? When digging into Bible verses and their true meaning, it can be helpful to see what the original word was in the original language. In this case, since this is New Testament, we need to look to the Greek word used here – μένω. The Greek alphabet is different than the English alphabet. So when the word was transferred to the English alphabet (that is called transliteration) and we get the word menō. Then when the Bible was translated into English, often times this word was abide (but not always).

I realize that might be confusing and a lot to absorb. Don’t worry too much about remembering that. My whole point is that we need to look at the definition of the original Greek word.

Based on two of the things we referenced already (the Merriam-Webster definition and the word used in the NIV), the definition of the original Greek word is not a surprise:

To stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy):—abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry…

I especially like the words expectancy and dwell in this definition. We should expect the Lord to remain in us and we are expected to remain in Him. No matter what is going on around us, we should make Jesus our dwelling place. We should stay by His side every day. We should never depart from Him.

In these two verses, Jesus calls us a branch and Himself the vine. We wouldn’t want to break a branch off of a vine, because that would kill the branch. This illustrates how vital it is to remain connected to Jesus.

Maybe you are thinking, Okay, but how do I do that? Simply, this means that we meet with Jesus every day. We are in a relationship with Him, so we should seek Him out, try to learn more about Him, and grow closer to Him. If you were engaged to be married, you would want to spend time with your soon-to-be spouse, right? You would want to get to know them better and strengthen your relationship with them. This might sound like a lot of work, but we know it’s not because if you love that person then you want to spend time with them. That is how it is with the Lord also. We make Him a priority out of love. Our relationship with Him will continue to grow naturally, if we merely show up every day.

Sticking with the analogy of Jesus being the vine and His disciples being a branch, Jesus goes on to talk about fruit. He says when we abide in Him, we will bear much fruit. And He also says that we cannot bear fruit on our own. We need our attachment to Him to produce fruit in our lives.

When Jesus refers to fruit, He is talking about our character, actions, and words. When others look at us, they should see a good character (fruit), not a rotten character (fruit).

In Matthew 7:15-20, Jesus says, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

How do we know if we are displaying good or bad fruit? In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When others look at us, do they see these qualities within us? One of my favorite quotes, which I heard a pastor say once, is “When you squeeze an orange, you get orange juice.” This makes me wonder, when I am squeezed (or pressured), what comes out of me? Is it the fruit of the Spirit? Or does impatience and irritability come out?

One point I want to make here is that many times we struggle to produce this good fruit on our own. But Jesus tells us in these verses, that we need Him to produce good fruit in us. We cannot do it in our own strength. When we abide in Him, and it will come naturally. Your relationship with the Lord will ultimately affect everything else in your life. When you spend time with Him daily, you will be a changed person.

This doesn’t mean that we are not accountable for our choices. Abiding in Jesus is a lifelong journey, as He molds us more and more to be like Him. Therefore, we need to be conscientious about our actions and words. It starts with us making an intentional effort to abide in Him. But know that day by day, the Lord is changing us and shaping us. Praise God for that!

Dear Jesus, we humbly come before You today with gratitude in our hearts. You are always there, always looking out for us, and always providing for us. Help us to focus on all that we have, not all that we lack. And help us to learn to abide in You. We want to produce good fruit in our lives. But we know it has to start by abiding in You. Please help us to cling tightly to You every day. Thank You! We love You! In Your beautiful name we pray, Amen.

Gratitude Challenge for 2022

If you want to end 2022 on a positive note, then perhaps you will consider finding several things you are grateful for each day, from now through December 31. You can either write them down, or simply say a prayer of thanks. Gratitude is an excellent way to abide in the Lord as we look around for the blessings He pours into our lives.

Photo by David Köhler on unsplash.com

© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas

16 Comments on “Abide – Part 1

  1. Thank you Bridget. I enjoyed reading about the history of the word abide. Abiding in Jesus daily does make a difference. We have to choose Him daily and I am thankful He helps us. Looking forward to part 2 🤗❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Dawn! You made two excellent points – we have to choose Him daily and He helps us. Choosing Jesus every single day is vital. And I too am thankful that He helps us. What a loving Savior we have. 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The verse on abiding in God that you are memorising is such a beautiful one.
    I like the definition of dwell and expectancy that you mentioned for abide. We have to be intentional in abiding in Him as so much of our world pulls us away from Him. And I so agree Bridget that unless we abide, we do not produce fruit in our lives. Looking forward to more of what you got to share about abiding.
    Also, when I read your note at the end of the gratitude challenge for this year. I cannot believe how quickly time has passed. Feels not that long since we did it last year. Anyway, I am definitely going to be practicing that. It helped me a lot. Thanks so much my friend 💙🤗💐

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re absolutely right – “We have to be intentional in abiding in Him as so much of our world pulls us away from Him.” I am so thankful Jesus is always there for us, strengthening us, and producing good fruit in us.
      I agree! Times flies. It feels like only a few months ago we were talking about gratitude. And it’s been a whole year already. I am excited to know you will be joining in. Gratitude is a great way to lean into the Lord as we look around and see all the ways He blesses us.
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, my friend! 🤗🦋

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved the analogy for fruits of the spirit spilling out of us – the orange. When we’re pressured, what comes from us?
    Looking forward to part 2. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As you started out using the word “abide” I began to think of the word “dwell” because it reminded me so much by similarity and because that’s a word that has been near and dear to my heart lately..and then you ended up mentioning the word “dwell” ..so neat how God works and speaks!!❤️Great post Bridget!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve never thought about the differences in translations—word for word vs. thought for thought. Lots to think about here. Thank you, Bridget!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Abiding in Christ for me means practicing his presence, just like Brother Lawrence practiced and wrote about centuries ago. It has been a learning process for me, slowly but surely turning to Jesus throughout the day in gratitude, praise, and worship as well as keeping attuned to his whispers in my spirit. There’s still plenty of room for growth in this area, but I take joy in progress.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes that is an excellent point. Practicing the presence of God is definitely a solid way to learn to abide in the Jesus. And this is something I have been trying to remember to do as well. You’re right, there is always room for growth. As long as we are on this earth, we will have more to learn about the Lord. But it is a joy to learn and grow closer to Him, day by day. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, Nancy!

      Liked by 1 person

    • This time of year always makes me want to do better with gratitude. And ending the year well helps us transition into the new year. I agree with your thoughts on the word abide. And so amazing how Jesus paved the way so that we could abide in Him. Thank you for stopping by! Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Things I am Grateful For in 2022 | The Gratitude Challenge – The Devotional Guy™

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