Pitch Your Tent and Dwell with Jesus
Pitch Your Tent and Dwell with Jesus
I love the 15th chapter of John and look forward to reading it every year. I particularly like the word “abide.” Sadly, this blessed word is not used much outside of Scripture or in older hymns. It is such a good word and verses like Psalm 91:1 have blessed the saints for hundreds of years, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.”
Several expressions such as, abide in the vine, abide in the Word, abide in Me, and abide in His love, are sprinkled throughout this chapter. Today I am going to give an overview of the word and focus on abiding in His love.
Jesus calls His children to “abide in Me, and I in you.” (John 15:4) The Amplified translation is “dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. Or live in Me, and I will live in you.” He is inviting, urging, exhorting us to get real close to His heart and be a part of Him like a branch is an extension of a vine.
Abide also conveys pitching our tent and living next door to Him. This is not a new concept to many of us, but here are a few synonyms that will help us grasp this idea of abiding and remaining: dwell, inhabit, lodge, settle in, bunk, and hang out. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon teaches that meno also means, to continue to be present or to maintain unbroken fellowship with one.
The Greek word translated abide, is meno, which may also be rendered – stay or remain. Some form of this root word is used 118 times in the New Testament. Interestingly John mentions meno over 60 times in the Gospel of John and 1 John. As we read John 15:4-11, we observe this word abide, or remain, 10 times.
Abide or Remain in My Love
Now that we have a better grasp of what is means to remain and abide, consider John 15:9-11. This phrase appears three times in these three verses. It helps me to read this passage slowly, carefully, and enthusiastically. For each inspired Word of God is true. And inspired. And profitable.
“Remain in My love. When you obey My commandments, you remain in My love, just as I obey My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” (John 15:9-11 NLT)
Receiving His Love Comes First
Before I could remain in the love of God I had to believe it. I searched out several passages which were very helpful to me in comprehending the love of God. I also discovered that head knowledge is different than heart knowledge. I knew God loved the world from reading Scripture, but down deep in myth heart I doubted that God truly cared for me. I am attaching a PDF of these verses which I referred to in the last newsletter.
Thank God the Spirit came to my rescue. As I pondered and meditated on these inspired Words God began transforming my mind. I had known that the Spirit was responsible for convicting me of sin, pointing me to Jesus, and helping me say Jesus is Lord. Now it was a delight to learn that He was the One helping my heart to grasp this life giving truth. “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5)
When I finally began to to believe what His Good Spirit had revealed to my head and heart, I still struggled to hold on to this truth. Mornings were difficult for me. A few passages in the Psalms came to my rescue.
Psalm 90:14, “Satisfy us in the morning with Your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” I personalized it and regularly prayed, “Satisfy me in the morning with Your steadfast love, that I may rejoice and be glad all the day.” (The other verse is Psalm 143:8)
God wonderfully answered these prayers and I now find myself being convinced of His love for me and abiding in this new understanding.
Nothing can separate us from God’s love.
As began reveling and remaining in the love of God, I was comforted by these Scriptures in Romans 8. Paul certainly wanted the believers in Rome to be fully persuaded of God’s love for them. His language is inspired and covers all the bases. “I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) Amen!
The Secret to Remaining
Jesus reveals how He remained in the love of God in John 15:10, “When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.” He then adds, “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is My commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” ( John 15:11-12 NLT)
When I first read these words, I wondered which commandment I was to obey. I wanted to abide in His love, I also loved the idea of experiencing joy that overflows, but which command? The answer is simple and yet sublime. We are to love each other just as Jesus has loved us.
This is the new commandment, which Jesus first mentioned in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you.” As we obey His commandment to love each other as He has loved us, we will abide/remain/live in His love.
Receive to Give – Give to Receive
This concept is similar to another passage which Jesus taught His disciples: “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38)
Just as the sap moves from the vine to the branches, so the love of God moves through us to others. As we love others as He first loved us we are a conduit of His care and affection. As branches, we have been grafted into His life-giving love. We are a part of Him and He is a part of us. Our obedience “maintains unbroken fellowship” with Jesus the vine.
I have a great desire to be a life giving branch letting His love flow through me, and bearing fruit that glorifies God.
Tents and Tabernacles at Christmas
Not only does God invite us to live in Him and remain with Him, He is committed to tenting or tabernacling with us. During this season of celebrating the incarnation of Christ, we know that “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” or as the Amplified Version renders it, “And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us.” (John 1:14)
In Revelation 7:15 similar language is used to describe the relationship between God and His children. “He Who is sitting upon the throne will protect and spread His tabernacle over and shelter them with His presence.” (AMP)
One of the most wonderful passages in the Bible is Revelation 21:3, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God.”
May the Love and Life of God flow to us and through us, during this special season as we celebrate His incarnation,
Abiding and remaining in His care and affection,
PS For those of you who like to dig deeper, explore Strong’s Greek 3306 μένω – to stay, abide, remain and 4637 σκηνόω – to have one’s tent, dwell.