Are you abiding or visiting with Jesus? Do you know the difference?
Jesus said, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:7
I looked up the definition of the two words and there is a ton of difference between the two words.
Abide – to endure, to stand by, to act in accordance with, to uphold, to obey. To continue without fading or being lost. To have one’s abode, to dwell or reside.
Visit – stay temporarily, to go and see someone socially and spend time. An act of coming or going. To drop by.
Can you see the glaring difference? To visit someone is to be in their presence temporarily. It doesn’t require a lot of time and it doesn’t require a relationship. You can visit your friends for a social visit, but you can also visit a doctor, or a park. There is nothing to bind you to the place or person you are visiting. You can spend time with someone and not have a relationship with them. We do it all the time at work. We spend tons of time with people that we have no other tie to other than what we accomplish at the job site. I am required to develop deep relationships with my coworkers but I spend time with them for the majority of my day. I can visit with them and speak with them for large chunks at a time, but it doesn’t cost me anything. I am not sacrificing anything.
To abide with Jesus or with anyone for that matter, is totally different. To abide with Jesus, means we have to allow His word to fill our minds and direct our wills. We have to allow Him to transform our affections. If you are going to allow someone to do that, it is going to require a relationship. Let’s go back to the coworker situation, you visit and talk with them but once you leave the workplace, you probably don’t give much thought to that person unless you are close or there is something major going on with their life. Now think about your significant other, whether that be a spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, or fiancée. You are probably thinking about that person a whole lot during the day. A lot more than you probably care to admit. However, the two of you have a close relationship and you know that there are rules to the relationship. You may have to sacrifice some of your free time in order to spend time with them or to do an activity with them that they enjoy. You become more conscious of the choices you make in relation to how they will feel about it or what benefit it has to the relationship. You will try to find ways in order to make that person happy, whether it be in grand acts of love or small ones.
Jesus requires no less from us.
You are going to have to sacrifice your free will and do things that may not always make sense to you in self-centeredness but they work in the grand scheme of the body of Christ. You are going to have to act in accordance with His will and follow the rules of your relationship with Him, just like you would with your significant other. Being faithful is a big one. Your mate doesn’t expect you to wander and neither does Jesus. You are to have no other gods before him. Your mate expects you to honor them with respect and so does Jesus. Your mate expects you to obey the rules and parameters of the relationship and so does Jesus. You have to be willing to obey Him if you are going to grow in relationship with Him. The more obedient you are, the more He can trust you with. The more He can trust you with, the closer You can become. Sounds a lot like your personal relationships doesn’t it? You are going to have to sacrifice yourself, meaning your selfishness and pride for the betterment of the relationship. That sentiment is also true in your personal relationship.
Here’s the problem with a lot of people: Relationships require work. Many people don’t want to have to put the work in with Jesus like they do their personal relationships. They are happy to just visit Jesus once a week and then go on with their other weekly activities. He’s not a chore to mark off your list. Without Him in the center of EVERY aspect of your life, without Him in the center of EVERYTHING, how long do you think the other things in your life are going to stay in order. He wants more than to just visit with you. He didn’t die for you in order to have a little social time with you, He died for you in order to establish relationship with you and to bridge the gap to the Father.
So the question still remains: Are you abiding or visiting with Jesus?
Do you have what it takes to do the work required?