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A B I D E
The Prerequisite of Promise
This post was taken from my social media account, and has been expanded upon in this substack newsletter. I do this from time to time when I have more thoughts than the character limit allows.
A B I D E
verb (used without object)
Definition—to remain; continue; stay
The Lord has been quietly speaking to me a lot recently. We often want Him to speak to us like a roaring lion, but I have found that when He is teaching us something foundational, He’s quiet. A calm, still voice that is unwavering.
For the last four months, if you look in my journal, I’ve been stuck on the word “abide”. He’s been teaching me and causing me to “unlearn” a lot of what I learned growing up in church. My husband calls it “christianese talk”.
And I’m realizing that the American church has gotten so much wrong. Every time He teaches me right, I intend to share it if I can.
One of the biggest things we’ve been taught is the “word of faith” type ideology. That God wants nothing more than for you to be happy with money, recognition, materialistic things, and selfish ambitions. That God will give you anything you ask for.
Thank God He hasn’t given me everything I’ve asked for. The life I have now is ten times better than the life I prayed for years ago.
More importantly, it’s what we HAVEN’T been taught. So many of us haven’t been taught that a lot of the things we’ve been taught in scripture, also require action on our part.
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For example, Psalm 91 only promises safety for those who DWELL in the secret place, and ABIDE under the shadow of the Almighty.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
8 Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”
John 15 says that only those who ABIDE in Him will have what they ask for.
“7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
It doesn’t just come with a prerequisite, though. There is also a postrequisite—that what you ask for will glorify God, and you will bear much fruit.
We are often singleminded in our prayers. We throw out the prerequisites and the outcome the prayer must have, and we say “give me”.
But “give me” doesn’t glorify God. In fact, “give me” is not God’s will unless its outcome is the glorification of the Father.
Likewise, John 6:56 says;
“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in Him.”
Do you think that means just living a normal life? I think about the disciples and everything they did with and for Jesus. It truly is a daily picking up of the cross. But it also begs us to question what a disciple—a follower—of Jesus is and looks like.
John 8:12 says;
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
Is believing God exists enough? Even the demons believe and tremble. We’ve been taught for so long that just believing in God guarantees your way into heaven. But I argue that scripture states those who believe will actually follow Jesus. Those who believe will actually keep His commandments, even if they fail and repent.
Let me prove it to you…
12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
And so I challenge you (and myself) today, are you abiding in Him? Do you really believe in Him? I mean, really? Not just one 5 minute prayer a day. Not just believing He exists but truly believing He is King. Truly abiding—staying—in Him.
What are some other examples in scripture where there are pre- and post-requisites? Do you feel like your understanding of scripture grows each week?