Religion is meant to be in everyday life a thing of unspeakable joy. And why do so many complain that it is not so? Because they do not believe that there is no joy like the joy of abiding in Christ and in His love, and being branches through whom He can pour out His love on a dying world.
Andrew Murray, The True Vine
Let me learn the lesson. Abiding is to be an act of the will and the whole heart. Just as there are degrees in seeking and serving God, “not with a perfect heart,” or “with the whole heart,” so there may be degrees in abiding. In regeneration the divine life enters us, but it does not all at once master and fill our whole being. This comes as a matter of command and obedience.
There is unspeakable danger of our not giving ourselves with our whole heart to abide. There is unspeakable danger of our giving ourselves to work for God and to bear fruit, with but little of the true abiding, the wholehearted losing of ourselves in Christ and His life. There is unspeakable danger of much work with but little fruit, for lack of this vital relationship. We must allow the words “not of itself” and “except it abide” to do their work of searching and exposing, of pruning and cleansing, all that there is of self-will and self-confidence in our life; this will deliver us from this great evil, and so prepare us for His teaching, giving the full meaning of the word in in us: “Abide in me, and I in you.”
Our blessed Lord desires to call us away from ourselves and our own strength, to Himself and His strength. Let us accept the warning and turn with great fear and self-distrust to Him to do His work. Our life is “hid with Christ in God”! That life is a heavenly mystery, hid from the wise even among Christians, and revealed unto babes. The childlike spirit learns that life is given from heaven every day and every moment to the soul that accepts the teaching: “not of itself,” “except it abide,” and seeks its all in the Vine. Abiding in the Vine then comes to be nothing more or less than the restful surrender of the soul to let Christ have all and work all, as completely as in nature the branch knows and seeks nothing but the vine.
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Abide in me. I have heard, my Lord, that with every command, You also give the power to obey. With Your “Rise and walk,” the lame man leaped. I accept Your word, “Abide in me,” as a word of power, that gives power, and even now I say, “Yea, Lord, I will, I do abide in You.”