April 21, 2015
1 John 2:24-25
As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—eternal life.
If we peek behind the English text to see the Greek “codes,” if you will, we see a term used no less than three times. The word is “meinete.” It means “abide.” It often translates into English as “remain” or “dwell.” John is asking his hearers to stick with the plan, to stay with the Gospel as they first heard it, the pure, unadulterated Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Remember, John is confronting the problem of false teaching and false teachers. He is calling a group of relatively new believers to grow up into mature faith by digging deeper into the core truth of the Gospel. He instructs them to stay with it, to remain or dwell in it, to demonstrate some staying power. In short, he says to abide in the truth.
This likely reminds you of the same message in the fifteenth chapter of John.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:5-8.
We have one job in the life hid with Christ in God– and that is to show up, every day, day after day, and rehearse the truth that we have heard from the beginning.
My Dad once shared with me a humorous strategy to insure that he would never lose his memory. He said, “If I can wake up every day and go over the basic truth of who I am and where I am and what I’m about, then how could I ever lose my memory?” The more I think about it, the more I am convinced this is exactly what Jesus means when he says to “abide in me.” He means to wake up, day after day, rehearsing the truth of who he is and who we are and who he is to us and therefore who we can be to others.
So what if I did that every single morning? Just this morning, I woke up a little earlier than usual (thanks to the Dog) and I found myself outside looking up at the stars. I thought to myself, I’m going to simply remind myself of the truth of the Gospel– out loud. I went to a familiar passage of Scripture and literally declared aloud to myself (and the dog), the following:
John David, you have the same mind in you that was in Christ Jesus, who being in very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing. And taking on the nature of a servant, and being made in human likeness and found in the appearance of a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven, and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God the Father.” That’s my rendition of Philippians 2:5-11 as best as I can remember it.
After that, I spoke aloud the Sower’s Creed as is becoming my practice (when I remember it).
That was it. I didn’t try to conjure up any warm fuzzy feelings. I just dwelled in the truth of it all. I remained in the message I heard from the beginning. And I believe it changed the course of my life, just for today. When you think about it, it’s really pretty simple. How many times have I failed to simply “show up” because I felt like I had to bring some kind of something special to the table, when all I had to do was show up and bring what he had already brought to me?
So I want to encourage you today. It is all at once much easier than you think to abide in Jesus and yet it will take all you have to simply remember and show up. He just wants us to bring his own Gospel back to him. Day after day after day. The outcome will stun you. One day you will wake up and realize you are nowhere near where you used to be and the glory of it all is you will realize you had nothing to do with it, other than to abide. He did everything else.
Nothing is more effective against false teaching than the simple wherewithal to do this kind of thing every single day.
J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get the Daily Text delivered to your inbox fresh every morning. Subscribe HERE.