S54P8 – Linchpins of the faith: abiding in Christ
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Theirs seemed like a conventional marriage in most ways. The exception, however, was a rather stark one. Once married, they decided not to live in the same house. They would own neighboring houses on the same block, but that was as close as they thought they needed to be. They would have dinner together most nights, but the rest of their time was spent apart. Whether at work or just being at home, each of them had a significant amount of time away from the other. Everyone had told them the same thing: they would be able to get only so close with this living arrangement. That would turn out to be true. They were not living as husband and wife but were simply living as neighbors. Sharing the same abode would be necessary to draw them as close as husband and wife could hope to be.
The marriage relationship is not a casual one. There is a closeness in marriage that we will not find in other relationships. It is a mirror of the relationship that Christ has with his bride, the Church. The same way we expect the husband and wife to abide in the same home and share their lives, that is the way we are to share our lives with our Savior. We do not see him as someone who happens to be around us every now and then, someone with whom we communicate on occasion. We are to live with Christ. We are to walk hand-in-hand with him at all times. There is to be no separation between us and him. To abide in Christ means to remain in him, which paints a picture of being with him at all times. This should drive our words, our actions and our thoughts. It is this closeness in relationship that will bring obedience and submission.
When we abide in Christ, we are part of the same spiritual household. We do not work independently from him because we do not live independently from him. What we do should be done in Christ if we remain in Christ. He is not some occasional influence on us, but He is our driving force. To abide in him means to keep the lines of communication open and seek his instruction and direction as we go through life. The desire is to live as He would have us live, and that requires that we stay in constant communion with him. It is a completely different way of life that is required of us if we are to walk out this faith as God intends. Father, give us the discipline, wisdom and selflessness to abide in your Son at all times that we would live according to your will.