ABIDE IN CHRIST by Andrew Murray
(To watch Day 2, click here)
(To watch Day 2, click here)
Trusting Him To Keep You
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” Philippians 3:12
More than one Christian admits that it is a sacred duty and a blessed privilege to abide in Christ, but they shrink back continually before the question: Is a life of unbroken fellowship with the Savior possible? Eminent Christians, to whom special opportunities of cultivating this grace have been granted, may attain to it; for the large majority of disciples, whose lives, by a divine appointment, are so fully occupied with the affairs of this life, it can scarce be expected. The more they hear of this life, the deeper their sense of its glory and blessedness, and there is nothing they would not sacrifice to be made partakers of it. But they are too weak, too unfaithful,—they never can attain to it.
Dear souls! Little do they know that the abiding in Christ is meant ONLY for the weak, and is so beautifully suited to their feebleness. It does not demand the doing of some great thing, or that we first lead a very holy and devoted life. No, it is simply weakness entrusting itself to a Mighty One to be kept—the unfaithful one casting itself on One who is altogether trustworthy and true. Abiding in Him is not a work that we have to DO as the condition for enjoying His salvation, but a consenting to let Him do all for us, and in us, and through us. It is a work He does for us,—the fruit and the power of His redeeming love. Our part is simply to yield, to trust, and to wait for what He has engaged to perform.
It is this quiet expectation and confidence, resting on the word of Christ that there is an abiding place prepared IN HIM, which is so sadly lacking among Christians. They scarcely take the time or the trouble to realize that when He says, "Abide In Me," He offers Himself, the Keeper of Israel who neither slumbers nor sleeps, with all His power and love, as the living home of the soul. There the mighty influences of His grace will be stronger to keep them than all their feebleness could lead them astray. The idea they have of grace is this—that their conversion and pardon are God's work--but that now, in gratitude to God, it is their work to live as Christians, and follow Jesus. There is always the thought of a work that has to be done, and even though they pray for help, still the work is theirs. They fail continually, and become hopeless; and their despondency only increases their helplessness. No, wandering one; as it was Jesus who drew you when He spoke "Come," so it is Jesus who keeps you when He says "Abide." The grace to come and the grace to abide are alike from Him alone. That word “Come”, heard, meditated on, and accepted, was the cord of love that drew you near; that word “Abide” is likewise the band with which He holds you fast and binds you to Himself. Let the soul only take time to listen to the voice of Jesus. "In me," He says, "is your place,—in My almighty arms. It is I who loves you so, who speaks ‘Abide in me.’ Surely you can trust Me." The voice of Jesus entering and dwelling in the soul must call for the response: "Yes, Savior, in You I can, I will abide."
“Abide in me.” These words are no law of Moses, demanding from the sinful what they cannot perform. They are the command of love, which is ever only a promise in a different shape. Think of this until all feeling of burden and fear and despair pass away, and the first thought that comes as you hear of abiding in Jesus will be one of bright and joyous hope. It is FOR ME, I know I shall enjoy it. You are not under the law, with its unrelenting “Do,” but under grace, with its blessed “Believe” what Christ will do for you. And if the question is asked, "But surely there is something for us to do?" the answer is, "Our doing and working are only the fruit of Christ's work in us." It is when the soul becomes utterly passive, looking and resting on what Christ is to do, that its energies are stirred to their highest activity, and that we work most effectively because we know that He works in us. It is as we see in those words “In Me” that the mighty energies of love reaching out after us to have us and to hold us, that all the strength of our will is aroused to abide in Him.
This connection between Christ's work and our work is beautifully expressed in the words of Paul: ”but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” It was because he knew that the mighty and the faithful One had grasped him with the glorious purpose of making him one with Himself, that he did his utmost to grasp the glorious prize. The faith, the experience, the full assurance in "Christ has laid hold of me," gave him the courage and the strength to press on and lay hold of that which had laid hold of him. Each new insight of the great end for which Christ had taken hold of him, aroused him again to aim at nothing less.
Paul's expression, and its application to the Christian life, can be best understood if we think of a father helping his child to climb the side of some steep precipice. The father stands above, and has taken the son by the hand to help him on. He points him to the spot on which he will help him to plant his feet, as he leaps upward. The leap would be too high and dangerous for the child alone; but the father's hand is his trust, and he leaps to get hold of the point for which his father has taken hold of him. It is the father's strength that secures him and lifts him up, and so urges him to use his utmost strength.
Such is the relationship between Christ and you, O weak and trembling believer! Fix first your eyes on that for which He has taken hold of you. It is nothing less than a life of abiding, unbroken fellowship with Himself to which He is seeking to lift you up. All that you have already received —pardon and peace, the Spirit, and His grace—are only preliminary to this. And all that you see promised to you in the future—holiness and fruitfulness and glory everlasting—are only its natural outcome. Union with Himself, and so with the Father, is His highest object. Fix your eyes on this, and gaze until it stands out before you clearly and unmistakably. Christ's aim is to have me abiding in Him.
And then let the second thought enter your heart: “Unto this Christ has laid hold of me.” His almighty power has taken hold of me, and offers now to lift me up to where he would have me be. Fix your eyes on Christ. Gaze on the love that beams in those eyes, and that asks whether you cannot trust Him, who sought and found and brought you near, to keep you now. Gaze on that arm of power, and say that you have reason to be assured that He is indeed able to keep you abiding in Him.
And as you think of the spot where He points, — the blessed place for which He took hold of you,—and as you keep your gaze fixed on Him, who is holding you and waiting to lift you up, could you not this very day take the upward step, and rise to enter upon this blessed life of abiding in Christ? Yes, begin at once! Say, "O my Jesus, if you call me, and if You take hold of me to lift and keep me there, I will dare to go with You. Trembling, but trusting, I will say, “Jesus, I do abide in You."
My beloved fellow believer, GO, and take time alone with Jesus, and say this to Him. I would not speak to you about abiding in Him only for the sake of bringing to your mind a pleasing religious sentiment. God's truth must acted on NOW. O yield yourself this very day to the blessed Savior to surrender the one thing He asks of you: giving up yourself to abide in Him. He Himself will work it in you. You can trust Him to keep you trusting and abiding.
And if ever doubts again arise, or the bitter experience of failure tempts you to despair, just remember where Paul found his strength: “Christ Jesus has laid hold of me." In that assurance you have a fountain of strength. From that place you can look up to that very thing on which He has set His heart, and set yours there too. From that place you gather confidence that the good work He has begun He will also complete. And in that confidence you will gather courage, day by day, afresh to say, "I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.' It is because Jesus has taken hold of me, and because Jesus keeps me, that I dare to say, Savior, I abide in You."