May 24, 2020
Now Is The Time For "Abiding"!
People are out of work, unable to worship in Church together, and I have no doubt that faith is being tested. But now, more than ever, we need to come to terms with our relationship with Christ. We are by no means the first Believers to have their world shaken, or their expectations to be challenged. I can only imagine what it must have been like for Jesus's disciples in those days leading up to His trial and crucifixion, and then the discouragement that must have descended upon them after His burial. All their hopes in Him must have been seriously in question! After all, Peter had been told by Jesus, Himself, that he had correctly identified Him as the Son of the Living God. Yet they knew He had been buried in a tomb like an ordinary man!
I would venture that many Believers are like the disciples, Cleopas and his companion, whom the risen Christ encountered as they traveled to Emmaus. They did not recognize Him and commiserated about their feelings of defeat and the questions they had about all that had transpired in the preceding days. They were so overcome by dashed hopes that they were unable to perceive His presence in their midst. They had not clearly received the revelation Jesus shared with them at their Last Supper together -- that He would sacrifice His body and shed His blood for the remission of their sins. They were blinded by their disappointment in dashed dreams and had returned to their old ways of thinking.
But as Jesus began to reveal all that the Scriptures had spoken and prophesied about Him, they were overtaken by a burning hunger within themselves, and begged this stranger to stay and abide with them. Jesus obliges them, and stays to share a meal with them. As He breaks bread with them, reminiscent of what He did at the Last Supper, their eyes are opened and they knew Him!
I believe that many of us can identify with Cleopas and the other disciples who had followed Jesus. Remember, there were more than just the Twelve who were closest to Him. He had touched the lives of many people who chose to follow Him and be known as disciples of Jesus, of Nazareth. But like them, as we are faced with these confusing times, we are distracted by what we see in the flesh and how we discern world events affecting our personal lives. We have taken our eyes off the promises of our Lord Jesus.
We long for a return to those comfortable feelings of stability in Him; and the exhilaration of seeing His undeniable and obvious blessings. And in looking back, we are unable to see His continued presence in our immediate circumstances. But if we seek Him, we can still experience that burning hunger for Him, just like Cleopas, and invite Him to "abide". And it's important that we understand the fullness of that word ... to abide is to stay in a given place, state, relation or expectancy -- no matter what turn of events might cloud our vision.
It is easy to look at the realms of politics, global transformation, and the growing limitations of our personal freedoms and begin thinking that everything is out of order according to God's plan. And you can imagine how the Enemy can use these states of affairs to whisper seeds of doubt and unbelief into our hearts. But if we truly belong to Him in spirit, then we will remain abiding in Him. We will know in the depths of our soul and spirit that God orders everything in the earth and the universe -- everything has an appointed time and purpose. God thinks in terms of Eternity. Man views circumstances in short periods of time.
Have you considered that your success in persevering through these trying times relies much more on what you believe than what you do? It's what you believe about who you are, and what you think God will do for you, and how you call that into existence that will ensure your survivability. As I said, everything in the universe is ordered by God, and you have been appointed for this time. Your life has a purpose now! And it's more than your job or your physical comforts. God wants to talk to you personally, face-to-face, about what's in your heart [and that He wants you] to accomplish. Just as Jesus did with Cleopas, He wants to reveal to you all that God has ordered through the Scriptures up to this very day -- so that you clearly see and know that everything He did was the Father's will for your happiness and blessing.
So, even though the world might look bleak now, we need to abide in Christ -- to stay in that state of expectancy that His timing is perfect for our lives; that ALL of His promises for our life are "Yes" and "Amen"! We must not abide in the limits the world is trying to place on us! We have been given the ministry of Jesus in trying times, and they are no less trying than those disciples experienced in the first century under Roman occupation, fearing for their lives as followers of Jesus Christ. No matter what the world throws at us, it is essential that we stay rooted in the True Vine and the knowledge that the Vinedresser has destined us to bear fruit for His Kingdom. And if He is pruning you, then know that it is so you will bear more fruit. It is the season for "abiding"; and it is our time to renew our strength in Christ, not growing weary, nor fading in our purpose!
1 John 2:6 Whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.