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Abide In Messiah: Love, Peace and Joy
11 January 2015
 
 
This is the third article in a series in which I share excerpts from the classic book Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray. If missed the first two, you can find them here: In the book of John, chapters 13 through 17, Yeshua (Jesus) shared with His closest followers, from the depths of His heart, His last-minute instructions before He was led away to be executed on the cross. This passage is so rich that it would take a lifetime to explore and experience all of its treasures!

The centerpiece of Yeshua’s teaching is in John 15:1‑17, when He instructed His followers to abide in Him. In His teaching, He unfolds various aspects of what it means to abide in Him. For example, abiding in Yeshua means to abide in His love:
“As the Father loved Me, I also have 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)
Right after His command to abide in His love, He explains that another aspect of abiding in Him is that His joy can abide in us, so that our joy may be full.
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may abide in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11)
In the following chapters, John 16 and 17, Yeshua uses the word joy SIX more times! Obviously, He wants His followers to abide in His joy, which no one can take away (John 16:22).

Earlier, in John 14, Yeshua also talked about His peace being given to His followers:
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
So, here, within a space of 16 verses, Yeshua talked to His followers about His peace, His love, and His joy. These are three major aspects of what it means to abide in Him. Yeshua is the source of love, peace and joy.

These deep needs of the human heart do not come from external sources, like relationships with other human beings, possessions, food and drink, drugs, career, money, or circumstances. True love, peace and joy are only found internally, when Yeshua abides in our heart through our abiding in Him. Regarding the peace of Yeshua which comes through abiding in Him, Andrew Murray wrote in chapter 15:
To all who desire to learn the blessed art of living only a moment at a time, I want to say: The way to learn it is to practice living in the present moment. Each time your attention is free to occupy itself with the thought of Jesus — whether it be with time to think and pray, or only for a few passing seconds — let your first thought be to say: “Now, at this moment, I do abide in Jesus.”

Use such time, not in useless regrets that you have not been abiding fully, or still more hurtful, fears that you will not be able to abide, but simply take the position the Father has given you: “I am in Christ; this is the place God has given me. I accept it; here I rest; I do now abide in Jesus.“

This is the way to learn to abide continually. You may be yet so feeble as to fear to say of each day, “I am abiding in Jesus;” but the weakest one can say, each single moment as he consents to occupy his place as a branch in the vine, “Yes, I do abide in Christ.”

It is not a matter of feeling; it is not a question of growth or strength in the Christian life. It is the simple question whether the will, at the present moment, desires and consents to recognize the place you have in your Lord, and to accept it. If you are a believer, you are in Christ. If you are in Christ, and wish to stay there, it is your duty to say, though it be but for a moment, “Blessed Savior, I abide in You now; You keep me now.”

It has been well said that in that little word now lies one of the deepest secrets of the life of faith. At the close of a conference on the spiritual life, a minister of experience rose and spoke. He did not know that he had learned any truth he did not know before, but he had learned how to use correctly what he had known. He had learned that it was his privilege at each moment, whatever surrounding circumstances might be, to say, “Jesus saves me now.”

This is indeed the secret of rest and victory. If I can say, “Jesus is to me at this moment all that God gave Him to be: life, and strength, and peace” — as I say it I have only to hold still, and rest, and realize it, and for that moment I have what I need. As my faith sees how, of God, I am in Christ, and takes the place in Him my Father has provided, my soul can peacefully settle down: Now I abide in Christ.
Regarding the love of Yeshua which comes through abiding in Him, Andrew Murray wrote in chapter 22:
Before the Savior speaks the word that invites us to abide in His love, He first tells us what that love is. What He says of it must give force to His invitation, and make the thought of not accepting it an impossibility: “As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you!”

“As the Father has loved Me.” How shall we be able to form right conceptions of this love? Lord, teach us. God is love. Love is His very being. Love is not an attribute, but the very essence of His nature, the center round which all His glorious attributes gather. It was because He was love that He was the Father, and that there was a Son. Love needs an object to whom it can give itself away, in whom it can lose itself, with whom it can make itself one.

Because God is love, there must be a Father and a Son. The love of the Father to the Son is that divine passion with which He delights in the Son, and speaks, “My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The divine love is as a burning fire; in all its intensity and infinity it has but one object and but one joy, and that is the only-begotten Son.

When we gather together all the attributes of God — His infinity, His perfection, His immensity, His majesty, His omnipotence — and consider them but as the rays of the glory of His love, we still fail in forming any conception of what that love must be. It is a love that passes knowledge. And yet this love of God to His Son serves as the standard by which you are to learn how Jesus loves you.

As one of His redeemed ones, you are His delight, and all His desire is for you, with the longing of a love which is stronger than death, and which many waters cannot quench (Song of Songs 8:6‑7). His heart yearns after you, seeking your fellowship and your love. Were it needed, He would die again to possess you.

As the Father loved the Son, and could not live without Him, could not be God the blessed without Him — so Jesus loves you. His life is bound up in yours; you are to Him inexpressibly more indispensable and precious than you ever can know. You are one with Himself. “As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you.” What a love!

Gaze, oh gaze on the divine form, the eternal glory, the heavenly beauty, the tenderly pleading gentleness of the crucified love, as it stretches out its pierced hands and says, “Oh, will you not abide with Me? Will you not come and abide in Me?”

It points you up to the eternity of love from where it came to seek you. It points you to the Cross, and all it has borne to prove the reality of its affection, and to win you for itself. It reminds you of all it has promised to do for you, if you will but throw yourself unreservedly into its arms. It asks you whether, so far as you have come to dwell with it and taste its blessedness, it has not done well by you.

And with a divine authority, mingled with such an inexpressible tenderness that one might almost think he heard the tone of reproach in it, it says, “Soul, as the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you: abide in My love.” Surely there can be but one answer to such pleading: “Lord Jesus Christ! Here I am. From now on, Your love shall be the only home of my soul: in Your love alone will I abide.”

That love is not only the motive, but also the measure, of our surrender to abide in it. Love gives all, but asks all. It does so, not because it begrudges us anything, but because without this it cannot get possession of us to fill us with itself. In the love of the Father and the Son, it was so. In the love of Jesus to us, it was so. In our entering into His love to abide there, it must be so too; our surrender to it must have no other measure than its surrender to us.

Oh that we understood how the love that calls us has infinite riches and fulness of joy for us, and that what we give up for its sake will be rewarded a hundredfold in this life! Or rather, would that we understood that it is a love with a height and a depth and a length and a breadth that passes knowledge! How all thought of sacrifice or surrender would pass away, and our souls be filled with wonder at the unspeakable privilege of being loved with such a love, of being allowed to come and abide in it for ever.

And if doubt again would suggest the question: “But is it possible, can I always abide in His love?” — listen how that love itself supplies the only means for the abiding in Him: It is faith in that love which will enable us to abide in it. If this love be indeed so divine, such an intense and burning passion, then surely I can depend on it to keep me and to hold me fast. Then surely all my unworthiness and feebleness can be no hindrance. If this love be indeed so divine, with infinite power at its command, I surely have a right to trust that it is stronger than my weakness; and that with its almighty arm it will clasp me to its bosom, and allow me to go out no more.

I see how this is the one thing my God requires of me. Treating me as a reasonable being endowed with the wondrous power of willing and choosing, He cannot force all this blessedness on me, but waits till I give the willing consent of the heart. And in His great kindness, He has chosen faith to be the sign of that consent — the faith by which utter sinfulness casts itself into the arms of love to be saved, and utter weakness to be kept and made strong. O Infinite Love! Love with which the Father loved the Son! Love with which the Son loves us! I can trust You, I do trust You. Oh keep me abiding in Yourself.
Regarding the joy of Yeshua which comes through abiding in Him, Andrew Murray wrote in chapter 25:
Abiding fully in Christ is a life of exquisite and overflowing happiness. As Christ gets more complete possession of the soul, it enters into the joy of its Lord. His own joy, the joy of heaven, becomes its own, and that in full measure, and as an ever-abiding portion.

Just as joy on earth is everywhere connected with the vine and its fruit, so joy is an essential characteristic of the life of the believer who fully abides in Christ, the heavenly Vine. We all know the value of joy. It alone is the proof that what we have really satisfies the heart. As long as duty, or self-interest, or other motives influence me, others cannot know what the object of my pursuit or possession is really worth to me. But when it gives me joy, and they see me delight in it, they know that to me it is a treasure.

Therefore there is nothing so attractive as joy, no preaching so persuasive as the sight of hearts made glad. Just this makes gladness such a mighty element in the Christian character: there is no proof of the reality of God’s love and the blessing He bestows, which people so soon feel the force of, as when the joy of God overcomes all the trials of life.

And for the Christian’s own welfare, joy is no less indispensable: the joy of the Lord is his strength; confidence, and courage, and patience find their inspiration in joy. With a heart full of joy no work can weary, and no burden can depress; God Himself is strength and song.

Jesus speaks of this joy as abiding — a joy that is never to cease or to be interrupted for a moment: “That My joy might abide in you ... your joy no man can take from you.” This is what many Christians cannot understand. Their view of the Christian life is that it is a succession of changes, now joy and now sorrow.

To support their view, they appeal to the experiences of a man like the Apostle Paul, as a proof of how much there may be of weeping, and sorrow, and suffering. They have not noticed how Paul himself gives the strongest evidence as to this unceasing joy. He understood the paradox of the Christian life as the combination, at one and the same moment, of all the bitterness of earth and all the joy of heaven.

“As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10) — these precious golden words teach us how the joy of Christ can overrule the sorrow of the world, can make us sing while we weep, and can maintain in the heart, even when cast down by disappointment or difficulties, a deep consciousness of a joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.

There is but one condition: “I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy shall no man take from you.” The presence of Jesus, distinctly manifested, cannot but give joy. Abiding in Him consciously, how can the soul but rejoice and be glad? Even when weeping for the sins and the souls of others, there is the fountain of gladness springing up in the faith of His power and love to save.

Christ’s own joy, abiding joy, fulness of joy — such is the portion of the believer who abides in Christ. Why, oh why is it that this joy has so little power to attract? The reason simply is: People, yes, even God’s children, do not believe in it.

Instead of the abiding in Christ being looked upon as the happiest life that ever can be led, it is regarded as a life of self-denial and of sadness. They forget that the self-denial and the sadness are due to not abiding, and that to those who once yield themselves unreservedly to abide in Christ as a bright and blessed life, their faith comes true — the joy of the Lord is theirs. The difficulties all arise from the lack of the full surrender to a full abiding.

Child of God, who seeks to abide in Christ, remember what the Lord says. At the close of the parable of the Vine He adds these precious words: “These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might abide in you, and that your joy might be full.” Claim the joy as part of the branch life — not the first or chief part, but as the blessed proof of the sufficiency of Christ to satisfy every need of the soul. Be happy. Cultivate gladness.

If there are times when this joy comes all by itself without any effort, and the heart feels the unutterable joy of the Savior’s presence, praise God for it, and seek to maintain it. If at other times feelings are dull, and the experience of joy is not such as you could wish it, still praise God for the life of unutterable blessedness to which you have been redeemed. In this, too, the word holds good: “According to your faith be it unto you.”

As you claim all the other gifts in Jesus, always claim this one too — not for your own sake, but for His and the Father’s glory. “My joy in you ... that My joy may abide in you ... My joy fulfilled in them” — these are Jesus’ own words. It is impossible to take Him wholly and heartily, and not to get His joy too.
I urge you to buy your own copy of this book, and let Andrew Murray’s inspired writings teach you how you can abide daily, moment by moment, in Yeshua, the True Vine, and so abide in His love, peace and joy.

You can read more excerpts from this book in the next articles in this series: Abide In Messiah: That You May Not Sin and Abide In Messiah: And Not In Self.
This article is 31st a series of articles on this Web site related to Exploring New Testament Realities which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
1.
19  Sep  2013
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1  Oct  2013
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7  Oct  2013
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12  Oct  2013
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15  Oct  2013
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16  Oct  2013
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30  Oct  2013
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13  Nov  2013
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28  Dec  2013
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8  Jan  2014
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15  Jan  2014
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16  Jan  2014
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21  Jul  2014
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26  Jul  2014
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27  Jul  2014
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31  Jul  2014
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5  Aug  2014
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10  Aug  2014
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11  Aug  2014
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24  Aug  2014
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25  Aug  2014
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27  Aug  2014
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16  Sep  2014
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17  Oct  2014
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18  Oct  2014
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21  Oct  2014
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28  Oct  2014
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8  Nov  2014
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13  Dec  2014
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24  Dec  2014
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Abide In Messiah: Love, Peace and Joy
11  Jan  2015
32.
20  Jan  2015
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21  Jan  2015
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