I love venturing outside of my home to explore new places. Whether I’m traveling to a different city or getting the chance to visit a new country, it’s exciting to see sights that are unlike my day-to-day experiences. But the longer I’m away from home, the more I crave being home. In the beginning of a trip, I can’t wait to explore all that is new to me, but as the days go on, I find myself itching to return to what feels familiar and comfortable. As Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz says, “There is no place like home.” A home is typically a place of comfort. It is a place where someone can relax and be at ease. Whenever I feel stressed or overwhelmed, I like the feeling of wrapping myself up in a blanket and being cozy inside my home.
However, the desire I feel for my physical home isn’t always the same as my spiritual home. Although I’m not physically at home with Christ just yet, spiritually, I have a home with Him because I have a relationship with Him. As believers, Christ is our home, and it is in Christ we are to remain. In John 15:4, Jesus calls His followers to “Remain in me, and I in you.” The word “remain'' can also be translated as “abide.” To abide means to stay, persist, or continue. I have always found it interesting how close the words “abide” and “abode” are. An abode is a place of residence; a home. While these words are different, I think they are related. You abide in your abode. The place you call home is the place you remain and continuously live in. We may acknowledge that Christ is our home, but could we honestly say that we are always abiding in Christ?
What keeps us from abiding in Christ?
As followers of Christ, we belong to Jesus forever. We are in a union with Him that can never be broken. Our salvation remains secure no matter what. But while we remain eternally in Christ, we can refrain from abiding in Christ. One of the ways in which we keep ourselves from abiding in Christ is by pursuing other means for comfort and satisfaction apart from Christ. Like the prodigal son in Luke 15, we can “leave home” to seek after what we think will make us happy or secure. When in reality, we already have what we need to feel satisfied and secure in Christ. And just like the prodigal son’s experience, we reach a point when whatever it is that we sought after fails us.
In my own life, I often “leave home” to chase after acceptance and affirmation. Even though I’m accepted by God through Christ and have an identity in Christ that affirms who I am, I find myself craving the acceptance and affirmation of others. But even if I find what I’m looking for, it’s not enough. There is never a steady stream of affirmation that quenches my thirst and makes me feel satisfied. In these moments, I realize that I have left the source that satisfies all that my heart desires. Perhaps you, too, find yourself “leaving home” to pursue something apart from Christ. What are we to do to keep ourselves continuously abiding in Christ?
How to abide in Christ
Jesus declares in John 15:9, “As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in my love.” Jesus is God’s “beloved Son” (Mark 1:11), and the love God has for His Son is perfect. It is a love that is unconditional and eternal. One of the most amazing blessings of being in Christ is that we are loved with the same kind of love God has for His Son. Just as Jesus is God’s beloved Son, so are we beloved children of God (1 John 3:1). We have received God’s love as believers, and we are to remain in God’s love. This means that we are to rest daily in Christ’s love, clinging to and depending on His love. However, we are kept from resting and abiding in Christ’s love when we don’t see God’s love as enough. When we doubt God’s love for us or believe someone or something can love us better, we stop abiding in Christ. But there is no other place we need to be than home in God’s love. God’s love for us is enough, and in God’s love we find true security and satisfaction. Resting daily in God’s love and remaining rooted in God’s love keeps us abiding in Christ continuously.
So if you find yourself disappointed by the things of this world today, allow that disappointment to remind you of your home in Christ. Turn away from whatever it is you have sought after and venture back home. There you will be met by the open arms of the Father, who welcomes you with love, and in His love, you can stay.
Additional resources on abiding in God’s love