Abiding in God
By Benjamin H. Liles
I have obeyed [kept] my Father’s commands, and I remain [abide] in his love. In the same way, if you obey [keep] my commands, you will remain [abide] in my love. ~ John 15:10, Expanded
I have most likely covered this before and if I have and forgot, bear with me. I think it's an important aspect of keeping up a relationship with God. And just like working on our relationship with Jesus and with God we also work on our relationship with one another. Here's where I'm going with this: just as I live and do my best to honor my wife, I believe we ought to do the same in our walk with Jesus and with the Father, God.
A prophet once said, "The Lord God helps me learn [or speaks clearly to me; L has opened my ear], and I have not turned against him [rebelled] nor stopped following him [turned away/back]" (Isaiah 50:5, Expanded). We often question our walk with God. I know I do. I also know walking with Him while we are angry, depressed, no matter the situation He knows and understands our hearts. He allows us to experience life in a myriad of ways.
Solomon wrote this: "When I was a son to my father, tender and the only son in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me, "Let your heart hold fast my words; Keep my commandments and live; acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will guard you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is: acquire wisdom; and with all your acquiring, get understanding. Prize her, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her. She will place on your head a garland of grace; she will present you with a crown of beauty. Hear, my son, and accept my sayings and the years of your life will be many. When you walk, your steps will not be impeded; and if you run, you will not stumble. Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life" (Proverbs 4:3-13, New American Standard, bold mine).
What Solomon is saying is that having wisdom is a wonderful and good thing. When we prize it as we should it keeps and graces us as long as we live. By accepting this wisdom and grace, which God gives each of us it keeps us from going down paths that can take us away from Him and His love. Now think to what Christ is saying about abiding in Him. "I have kept my Father's commands, and I abide in his love. In the same way, if you keep my commands, you will abide in my love." Isn't that a great and wonderful thing to be able to say and do?
Unfortunately, there are some who make the comments such as "But it's so hard to remain in God," or even "How can I be sure He's there when it seems He's so far off?" Maybe you've even found yourself thinking, "I've been through such pain and suffering. How can there be a God who loves me when I don't know if He's there or not?" I understand being frustrated. I get to feeling that way a lot myself. All this week I have been fighting being depressed. I haven't wanted to do much, go anywhere, talk much to anyone, much less be outside--which would have done me a great deal of good had I felt up to it. And that's the big deal. If we operated solely alone on feelings, what would be accomplished?
I battle a great deal with my chemical imbalance. And I know I rarely, if at all, discuss it. It's not that I'm ashamed of who I am; for I am blood bought by Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Sometimes it's enough to know that and walk in faith. Other times, like this week, it seems simply walking with Him is a chore. That's what Isaiah, John and Solomon are talking about in these verses. Let's look again: "If you keep my commands," "The Lord GOD has opened My ear, and I was not rebellious," "Take my words to heart. Follow my commands, and you will live."
Staying in close proximity to God is livelihood to and for us. When we depart from Him do we do so well? Can we do great and marvelous things when we rebel against Him and His authority? Do we fulfill His word in our lives by choosing to allow unbelief and disobedience to reign? It stands out to me that the answer to all these questions is a resounding and heart-wrenching "No!" Choosing to remain in Him means we weather those storms regardless the circumstance. Keeping our faith in Him pure and unsoiled is our job, not His. It means slogging it through no matter what is going on. Yes, it's a hard thing to do: abiding in Him.
But I can tell you that regardless the problems you face going by faith and enduring the pain and suffering is only a momentary thing. Have you ever noticed on cloudy days, when the sun disappears behind a dark cloud you see radiance? That's the proverbial silver lining. Just because you don't see the sun visibly doesn't mean it's not shining. It just means you have to see past the storm that is in the way to see better and more clearly. I hope this helps and blesses you.
As I've said, I struggle alot with my depression. But it's also more than that. Sometimes I also get a little manic too. In those moments I do more than what I need to. I do things that seem a little "grand." But overall, I do my best to keep on in my faith that some day God will heal me of this. I'm sure of it. I choose to believe in Him, making it known that my trust is in the One who forgave my sins; He is the One who delivers from sickness and death. After all He conquered the grave. Thank You, Jesus, for all You do. I pray this finds all of you well. It is in Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
~ Your brother in Christ Jesus, Benjamin Liles