Abide in Him
“Now little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.”—1 John 2:28 NASB
A few years ago, I would have definitely been the guy shrinking away in shame. Not only did I lack that abiding confidence, I lacked a significant understanding of the Gospel, of Grace and of who I was in God. I mean, I could have told you something that I thought might have come from the Bible. I probably would have told you that God wouldn’t give you any more than you could handle, too. Although that is not what the Bible says at all.
I was that guy who eagerly sat in church all the way up to the point when I drifted away from regular attendance. I did the stuff, I worshipped on the drums, I was involved, and I served. But, I didn’t study the Word of God back then. I read here and there, did a topical devotion but it was all high, fly-over glances at the Bible. Broad strokes. I relied heavily on what I heard on Sundays and I believed that as long as I was a decent person today, doing the next right thing, I was good.
Do what makes you happy, right? Doesn’t that sound familiar? Isn’t that on a coffee mug somewhere? Maybe a t-shirt?
We all probably know someone like the believer that I used to be. If we used the analogy of faith being like a pool of living waters, I was that guy who had floaties on and was good with hanging around the steps. I would have had a great come back if anyone ever said anything to me about it, too. Kids tend to be the ones with floaties on around the steps and Jesus said that we have to be like little children, so I was good. Right?!
Wrong! As soon as I was away from accountability, regular church attendance and the people that checked me—the people who were actually studying the Word and trying to get me to do the same—I fell into a vicious cycle. What’s crazy is that Jesus actually has a parable about this. It’s the Parable of the Sower found in Matthew 13. My faith-walk back then was similar to seed falling on a mix of rocky-thorns. I sprang up quick in my faith with a zealous desire to serve. In fact, I believe I wrote down on a Connection Card once that I desperately wanted to be a good Christian, which back then I equated with works. However, my lack of studying the Bible was like having no depth of soil and the sun was akin to the desires of the world which started scorching my roots. Honestly, my faith only survived by the Grace of God. Because, while the sun beamed down searing me, my thorns—that is the cares, desires and ambitions of this world, coupled with a lack of prioritizing the spiritual—began choking out my faith.
At that point, I was a believer who was totally ashamed of where I had allowed myself to fall. I had not abided in Him. I had wandered off, I was a misguided, bleating sheep heading for a cliff. Yet, He had not forsaken me. By His Grace, His Mercy and His Loving-Kindness He allowed me to repent and return to Him. He left the 99 to chase down one misguided sheep. It was then that I began to hunger for the Word in a way I had not experienced before. I started reading the Bible and shared sections that I felt applied to me, only to have a friend tell me that those sections were to the Israelites and for specific instances long ago.
I realized that my grasp of the Bible was rather jacked, and my theology needed some work. Desiring more, I started a Bible Study and then classes at a Bible College in pursuit of a Christian Studies degree. It was through this period that I began learning what an Inductive Bible Study was, as well as Hermeneutics. The Bible came alive for me for the first time in ways that I cannot even begin to explain. My analytical brain was able to analyze, assess and pick it apart while seeing what He always knew was waiting there for me, the unwavering understanding that what I was reading was TRUE; as well as actually beginning to understand it for the first time in its proper context.
Now I have confidence in my faith, in what I study in the Bible and on what I know to be firmly grounded in His Truth. I am not a Biblical scholar. I realize even now, I know nothing as I should, and I am ever-learning. However, as I near the original goal of this blog, I feel it is important for me to say that if you desire to abide in Him, to have that confidence of being His when He comes back and of not being ashamed in His presence, there is no better way to grow closer to Him than by rightly dividing His Word and living it out!
Studying is how we know His voice. It’s how we know what He requires of us and what He demands of us. Because, the Bible is how He talks to us today. Interestingly, the more I study His Word, the more I desire to do what He says in it. The more I comprehend what He has done for me and how He loves me, the more I can’t help but do the works not because it gets me into heaven but because it’s a byproduct of what He is doing in me.
So, question is: do you know His voice? How can you abide without it?
Until Next Time