‘Abide’ is a word we rarely use in conversation, but it was a special word in the mouth of Jesus (see John 12 v.46; 15 v.4,10). His youngest disciple particularly embraced this word; it implies a permanent loyalty.
Remember how John stood by the cross with the mother of Jesus (John 19 v.26,27) and then took care of Mary. Today we started reading John’s letters – what a powerful lot of lessons they contain! John employs the word ‘abide’ and we meditated on the sense of permanency this word conveys. You do not just come for a visit and stay awhile but you abide in some situation permanently. As a result you also have ‘fellowship’ (another special word) permanently.
John makes the point, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” [1 John 1 v.6]. He says “that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” [v.3]. Fellowship is a relationship among those who are fellows together in the same ship going on a lifelong voyage, therefore it is an abiding relationship – with Christ as the Captain.
When we know God’s word we show we really know it by keeping it. But what does keeping it involve? John writes, “whoever keeps his word, in him (or her) truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may be sure we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” [2 v.5,6]
John’s world, like our world, was falling apart and he wrote, “the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” [v.17] Note how he says “does the will of God”, it is not enough to know it. Finally, how thought provoking are the words at the end of his second chapter, “little children abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.”
Let us practice at practicing righteousness every day.