I was tagged by Bryan at “Charis Shalom” to post five things I dig about Jesus. I enjoyed thinking through this meme, so I decided to blog about each of my five things. The last thing on my list is that Jesus abides with me and I can abide with him. I have been meditating on this for a few weeks now. I have many questions, but I’m going to save those for another blog post.
Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden. Enoch walked with God. Noah walked with God. Skip ahead, and we see the apostles, other disciples, and other people walking with Jesus. Jesus stayed in people’s homes. He lived with them. God – in human form – lived with people – what an amazing act of love!
Just before Jesus’ death, he told his disciples something important and extraordinary. First, Jesus promised that he would abide – dwell with – remain with his follower. Then he said, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7 ESV) First, Jesus explained how the Helper – the Holy Spirit – would convict the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment.
But, the coming of the Helper would bring another advantage to those who belong to Christ: “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” (John 16:13 ESV) According to Jesus, having this Spirit of truth, this Helper, was more advantageous to his followers than having him there in the flesh.
This is the same Helper that we have with us today. Jesus abides with us today. He abides with us today even closer than he lived with believers while he was physically present on this earth. His spiritual presence is better for us than his physical presence. We don’t understand everything that means, but he promised us that it was true.
Because Jesus abides with us through the Holy Spirit, he could promise, “I am with you always.” (Matthew 28:20) Because we are indwelled by the Spirit of Christ, the author of Hebrews can quote God as saying, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5 ESV) Then we can respond, along with the author of Hebrews, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6 ESV)
Because Jesus abides with us, we can abide with him. We can walk in the Spirit and walk in the light. His words can dwell in us richly. We can deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him. Because we have fellowship with Christ through the Spirit, we have fellowship with the Father, and we have fellowship with one another. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Because Jesus abides with us, he speaks to us, and we can hear him and speak to him. He directs us, and we can follow. He enables us, and we can serve. He teaches us, and we can be encouraged and encourage others. He changes us, and we can mature into Christlikeness – becoming more like him.
We do not have to go anywhere to get to God. We do not have to do anything to summon God. We do not have to say any incantation to speak to God. We do not have to possess any trinket to access God. God dwells in us through the person of his Holy Spirit. Here. Now. Real. True. Close. Closer.
When we fail… when we sin… when we fall… when we lose hope… when we are angry… when we are discouraged… when we are hurt… when we are frightened… when we try and try and try… Jesus abides with us, and he speaks his words to us: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 ESV)
When we are immature… when we are teachable… when we listen… when we are growing… when we follow… when we stop trying… Jesus abides with us, and he speaks his words to us: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29 ESV)
When we are pressured… when we are busy… when we are harried… when we are burdened… when we are religious… Jesus abides with us, and he speaks his words to us: “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30 ESV)
Jesus abides with us. And, we can abide with him.