Hang around with folks long enough and you’ll discover where they live. Now I don’t mean what country, state, city, or neighborhood they live in, that’s easy. But where they live at in the sense of what’s important to them; what drives their thoughts and motivates their actions. A sports nut, for instance, lives, abides, and is saturated in, well this seems obvious, sports. They are constantly keeping up with the latest scores and sports news. They can recite player’s statistics from memory like most folks talk about the weather. They are at home and comfortable with their passion. You could say that they eat, drink, and sleep sports. This “at homeness” could be about anything. It could be an activity like sports or their vocation, an ideal, a set of convictions, a time in history, a hobby, an object such as a person’s home or car, or (in the broadest sense) it could be spiritual in nature. That’s what I mean by discovering where a person lives at.
This thought of being at home, living in, or abiding in unlocks something about walking with Jesus. The Apostle John repeatedly recounted Jesus’ teaching and encourage his readers to “abide in….” Jesus’ teaching about the vine and the branches in John 15 leaps to mind. Over and over again Jesus says, “Abide in.” Here are some snippets but I encourage you to read all of John 15:1-11. “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” (John 15:4, NASB95) “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, NASB95) “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” (John 15:9–10, NASB95) In John 15 Jesus presents three things to be at home in, Himself, His words, and His love. While this section of John’s Gospel about vines and branches is the most well-known there are others as well.
I won’t list every single time John writes “abide in” but here is a sample. “The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.” (1 John 2:10, NASB95) And “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:15–16, NASB95) And “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.” (2 John 9, NASB95) There is one more, one that has caused confusion since the day it was spoken.
The Gospel of John records a dialog Jesus had with some religious folks. In the middle of the discussion, Jesus says, “ He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.” (John 6:56, NASB95) This section of John, from 6:41-71, is considered to be one of Jesus’ hard sayings. Even in that day, people misunderstood Jesus’ point and many stopped following because of it.
Was Jesus being literal? Was He referring to the communion celebration? Was Jesus using an extreme metaphor to get His point across? The answer is given a few verses later, “But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble? What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” (John 6:61–63, NASB95) The truth of Jesus statement is not grounded in physical reality which many assumed, neither is it simply a metaphor alluding to a spiritual truth. His statement to Nicodemus about being born again Jesus’ statement is spiritual truth and life.
Remember our sports nut and the vine and branches. Abiding in something means to live in it and it in us. We are saturated with it. It is like home for us. It’s what sustains us. Without it, life seems empty, futile, and meaningless. That’s what Jesus was trying to say to the crowd that day, I suppose it could be summarized along these lines, ‘don’t follow Me because of the miracles and what I can do (considering all of John 6) but be saturated with who I am. Eat, drink, sleep, and breathe Me – live in Me and I will live in you.’
Today’s encouragement is to consider whether we are at home in Jesus or if we are “homeless Christians.” Again, we are not talking about physical homelessness but homeless in a spiritual sense. And we are not talking about having a church home although that is strongly encouraged. We are challenging our hearts to consider if we are at home in Jesus Christ. That we can talk with and about Jesus with the same ease others talk about sports, weather, or their hobby. That we feel out of sorts if we don’t connect with Jesus through prayer, through His Word, and through fellowship with other like-minded “Jesus nuts.” I’ve said this before and will probably say it many more times, Jesus doesn’t want to be just another add-on for our lives; He desires to be our life. Abiding in Jesus and Jesus abiding is us is like the comfort of being home.