“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
“Abide in me, and I in you” (John 15:4).
Notice the verbs in these two verses – come and abide. And then notice who is to do these actions.
Christ calls out to us to come to Him for rest, and He calls to us to abide in Him for fullness of life. We are the ones who need to go and abide. He may call us for a lifetime, but until we consciously choose to do something about it, His call is meaningless to us.
These commands are ours to obey.
And why don’t we obey these commands?
- Some may fear that this constant abiding is not within their reach. And yet if we make the first few steps, Christ will draw us in. We must be tender to His call in order to hear it and follow after it.
- Some may think they have been striving to go and to abide for many years, yet without finding the “secret” of abiding in Him. And yet, there is no “secret,” no “mystery.” We are simply to obey and go to Him and purposely choose to abide in Him, and He will deliver His promise of rest and abundant life.
- Some may actually know how to obey, how to abide in Him, but are kept from enjoying true rest in Him through their own sinfulness, their lack of commitment to Him, their selfish refusal to give up everything for the sake of abiding in Christ.
And yet, the promise He gives to those who would abide in Him is of manifold proportions!
- He promises that we will abide not just with Him, but in Him — a complete, unbroken, wholly perfect union between the believer and Christ.
- He promises rest — not just the fleeting absence of chaos that we may find every now and again in this world, but the fulfilling, overwhelming peace that saturates our hearts and minds as we allow ourselves to be stayed on Him.
- He promises abundant life — literally, life that overflows its boundaries! Not just a weary existence or a mundane endurance, but an enjoyable, enthusiastic, energy-filled life in Him — Life that has more joy and greater wonder than we could imagine.
So, why do we fail to obey the command to abide in Him? Why do we refuse to hear His call to us, and ignore His command, reject His promises? Why do we let our selfish sinfulness hinder our communion with Him?
Andrew Murray asked this very question in his book Abide in Christ:
“Who would, after seeking the King’s palace, be content to stand in the door,
when he is invited in to dwell in the King’s presence, and share with Him in all the glory of His royal life?
Oh, let us enter in and abide, and enjoy to the full all the rich supply His wondrous love hath prepared for us!”