Note: This is the first post in a series on five "words of the year." Read how to choose your word of the year here.
"Abide in me, and I in you." John 15:4
The word "abide" became an important word to me when I was newly married and moved out West to the high rockies in Colorado.
I had just left the glorious bubble of Christian college I'd lived in for a few years, and I found the world around me to be harsh, disappointing, and a big reality check.
I thought life "post-grad" was supposed to look a certain way and I was surprised and confused when it didn't.
This passage of scripture from John 15 crept up on me and hit me in a new way in that season.
Abiding was not easy.
Being in relationship with God in the culture I was in was looked down upon. It seemed silly. There wasn't a lot of support, and after years at a Christian school with Christian classmates and professors I was shocked to learn that following Jesus is in fact, as the Bible says, really difficult.
Going to church was hard. Reading my Bible was a struggle. But there was this invitation in scripture–"abide in me, and I in you."
Life didn't exactly turn out to be the wonderful, picture perfect adventure I had hoped for in that season. My temptation was to try to fix it. But sometimes, there isn't something wrong when we are in a season of life like this. There is some level of suffering in the Christian life, and God's invitation to us remains the same in all seasons–"abide in me, and I in you."
His promise is that we will bear fruit if we abide in Him. Our fruitful lives are a symptom of abiding in Him. His caution to us is that if we do not abide in Him, we will not bear fruit.
We can work really hard, we can hustle, we can implement new strategies and habits and make new friends and try new jobs and start new relationships–but without abiding in Him, it's all for nothing. We won't bear fruit.
Abide simply means "remain." Other Greek translations of "abide" that strike me are "to continue to be present" and "to be held, kept, continually." BibleTools.Org
As I was praying over the five words I'm choosing to create journals for the year 2022, I kept thinking of the word abide and God's invitation to us.
This journal is for you if your temptation is to run–maybe to escape something, maybe to run to the "next" thing, maybe to replace something that was lost or maybe just because you're tempted to keep up with a fast paced lifestyle. Instead, focus on "remaining." On being held. On abiding.
This word is for you if you find yourself struggling to stay present.
This word is to remind you to continue to be present with God, because He promises to continue to be present with you.
This word is to remind you that you are held. Not just yesterday, but also today, and tomorrow. You are held by God, and you will be kept by Him continually.
Keep showing up, even when it's hard, even when it hurts, even when you don't want to.
Abide in Him.