The word abide, in every instance used in the Bible, means "to stay".
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
For the past few weeks, I've learned, more deeply, what that meant. More importantly, I've learned the consequences of "not abiding".
"Stay in me, and I in you," said Jesus. This means to have Jesus permeate your life: the music you listen to, the purpose you wake up for, your goals, your thoughts, your prayers, how you look at the world around you, how you look at the world to come -- everything about your life should have Jesus in it.
For the past few years I've listened to nothing but Christian music. I've went to church every time the doors opened. I went about my daily business not asking what God can do for me, but for what I can do for Him today.
Then, I got several personal blows in my life that sent my heart reeling. Though I did not question my faith, I know I felt angry and hurt. For weeks, I stopped listening to Christian music. I stopped "moving". I just "existed".
I continued to read and contemplate the Book of Job. I grasped at the strings of my faith, refusing the ropes in my "anger".
I went through the motions, and I never outwardly denied my God, or His power, but my heart was bitter.
A couple of years ago, I had an experience that was similar but not as deep with-in me. It was enough to realize that I needed help. So, I went to a local minister and asked about it.
I was told that a relationship has its ups and downs, and with God, it isn't any different. When you commit yourself to someone, you don't stop loving them when they don't meet YOUR expectations. And, since love is an ACTION and not an EMOTION, you don't stop doing it, in spite of how you feel.
The proper response is to ask God to change your "want to".
I have failed so miserably.
Today, I picked up the headphones, plugged into Pandora radio, and listened to Lauren Diagle and Jason Crabb, and all of those other greats who praise the Lord with their music.
I watched inspirational movies.
I prayed, in spite of how I felt.
And, now I realize that, after weeks of feeling secluded, I should have done that to begin with.
"As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye stay in me," Jesus said.
I realize that I have not been very fruitful with my inspiration or my reaching out lately. The branch, though still on the vine, hasn't been very fruitful, and looking at the next verse, it is scary.
"If a man stay not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."
What good is a branch that doesn't bear fruit?
Today, I praise God. I feel the veil of anger lifting. I trust. I say "Hallelujah, Anyhow!"
And, I feel better.