“Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me”—John 15:4 (NRSV).
Abide is not a word we use often today. Other words, according to Dictionary.com that mean the same or almost the same include pause, rest, anticipate, linger, stay, stop, and remain.
Scott O’Neil, sports executive, and author of “Be Where Your Feet Are: Seven Principles to Keep You Present, Grounded, and Thriving,” writes, “When we’re moving at 115 MPH, we rarely see the wall coming. But it comes for all of us and when it does, we grasp for lessons, for meaning, for purpose. Each moment (good or bad) and each win or loss, provides us an opportunity to learn, and if we choose to take it, that opportunity can change our lives—and the world—for the better.
“The human spirit craves connection. Authenticity. Belonging. Touch. Gratitude. Purpose. We need to make our interactions count. Whether it’s the death of a friend, loss of a job, a bad break-up, or the isolation of COVID-19, those who manage to be where their feet are will grow, stretch, and emerge stronger, smarter and more prepared as we find peace and gratitude in the pause.”
Practicing the Pause
O’Neil is a man of faith, and he encourages us to pause from our constant movement to find peace in the quiet. Although I’ve not read his book yet, I listened to an interview with him on a recent morning program. He said, “Life is messy. Life is noisy. We need to peel back the curtain and find time to just be. We need to get off social media, put our phone down, and turn off the TV.”
I agree. There’s just too much noise in today’s world. As I was filling up my car’s tank recently, I had to listen to commercials blaring from a TV screen on the gas pump. Without a remote control, I couldn’t mute the shouting salesperson like I do at home.
While we may not be able to control outside noises, we can practice the pause, mute the world, and abide in the Lord in the confines of our own homes. Only then, can we hear that “still, small voice” inviting us into His presence. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
Hear God’s Invitation
Work stress or job losses, health issues or the death of loved ones, and other life interruptions and roadblocks can lead to a crisis of our faith. Overwhelmed already in our fast-paced world, we often aren’t prepared for the unexpected.
In the Book of Psalms, the word “Selah,” appears throughout. According to some sources, the word is used over 70 times in the Psalms. In Psalm 3:1-8, David writes, “O Lord, how my enemies have increased! Many are rising up against me. Many are saying of me, ‘There is no help [no salvation] for him in God.’” Selah (Amplified version).
While the true meaning of “Selah” in the Bible is a mystery, Bible Scholars have come up with multiple meanings and possible explanations for the meaning of the word. According to an article in Crosswalk.com, 39 Psalms that include this word, are titled “to the choirmaster,” which connects “Selah” to a musical notation, or interlude/pause. One interpretation. In the Psalm above, David is crying out to the Lord for help. He knows God is on His side.
God is On Our Side
God is on our side. He wants us to abide in Him, seek Him, trust Him, call out to Him. In an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father, we grow. Going to church on Sunday is a beginning. But it shouldn’t end there. While corporate worship is great, spending quality time with our Lord fertilizes and grows our spiritual fruit.
The fruit of the spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). As our fruit increases, so does our Christian witness. In addition, we’re better able to handle the storms in life. Like David, we know where our hope comes from when we’re in trouble.
Abiding in Christ leads to spiritual growth. We learn to be in this world but not of this world. In Romans 12:2, Paul reminds us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” When we do, we’re present, grounded, and thriving in Christ’s love and peace.