Monday, January 9, 2017

Abiding vs being our own god.

What is a key indication of our inclination to try and be our own god? 

A clue? How often do we battle with whether we are abiding or not abiding in God's love? In other words do we find ourselves ever wavering between trusting or not trusting in his love for us? 

Our answer to the second part regarding trusting his love will give us an idea of our answer to the first question regarding being our own god. 

The extent to which we accept his love is the extent to which we will no longer feel the need to try to generate love on our own i.e. be our own god. 

Until we wrestle with this question of abiding, we do not have a clear idea of how inclined we are to not abide i.e. to attempt to sustain ourselves; to be our own god; to trust ourselves instead of God.

To appreciate the significance of this we must first know what it *means to abide. 

In short abiding is to *remain, stay or stand firm. But in what? In our trust of God's love. 
Joh 15:9  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 
We are to never move from a posture of trust. It is knowing that even though our faith/confidence (and especially our feelings) in God's love waivers, God's love itself never does. Gods love is fixed and set upon us, because of Christ i.e. it is based solely on what he did, not what we do or feel. We are called to never waiver from confidence in this reality i.e. to abide in it. 

It is a call to have a trust in his love that is equal to (mirrors) that love. Our faith should be as steadfast (firm, consistent) as his love set upon us is steadfast, fixed, firm i.e. our trust (abiding) in his love is to be just as relentless and immovable as his love for us is. This is what he calls us to. 

Abiding is knowing/believing God's love for us is relentless, fixed, complete and never ending regardless of our feelings or our circumstances. God says he loves us (as well as proved it by making a way to freely pour it out on us in Christ) and because he does it is so

His love is not deterred or determined by what we think, feel or experience. 

And that is because his love is not based on any of these things. It is only based solely on what Christ has already done on our behalf. God has proven what he says is trustworthy because of what he did to restore us back into a relationship of complete love with him. He gave us his Son while we were yet sinners. This is the demonstration of his love and proof it is there, real and complete i.e. it is finished. There is nothing else left to do by him or us. End of discussion. 

We may feel and say in any given moment we don't sense God's love. But once we are in Christ it doesn't matter. It is there regardless. And the work Christ did on our behalf is the only proof necessary (Of course if he "...did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?"). The invitation to abide is to remain steadfast in believing this objective reality of God's love for us regardless of whatever else we are experiencing or feeling.

True belief translates to action

But it doesn't just end with belief. The degree to which we believe this is the degree to which we will act for God's honor by displaying that same love to others, we are given. All true believing results in action. Jas 2:17-18; 26 Joh 12:47,14:15;1Jn 2:3,4; 1Jn 5:3. If there is no action, there is no true believing.  

It is in displaying that love that we also more fully partake (abide) in it and experience it as it flows through us to others (for more discussion this click here). 

In short, abiding is first recognizing, believing and receiving God's love for us in Christ. Than acting in and by that love toward others for his honor, their good and our joy.

*abide - μένω - menō; a prim. vb.; to stay, abide, remain: - abide (16), abides (22), abiding (4), await (1), continue (4), continues (1), endures (3), enduring (1), lasting (2), lives (1), living (1), remain (20), remained (6), remaining (1), remains (8), stand (1), stay (11), stayed (11), staying (3), waiting (1).

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Grace to you
Jim Deal