God has works prepared for you to walk into, but He must grow you up and provide experiences for you along the way to prepare you for these works. He is maturing you, getting you to the level where He wants you to be in faith. The Holy Spirit gets you ready for what God wants to do through you. The Holy Spirit is like a friend who comes alongside of you to teach you the ways of God. Not that you don’t know it in the spirit, but you are not mature enough to access that information. To prepare you, He wants to talk to you about areas where your soul is still reigning, areas where your spirit is not mature enough to bring your soul and body in line.
The abider walks in the spirit, giving the soul no rein. We can tell if a person is not abiding by the fruit of their lives. Their behaviour reveals what they really believe.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”(Galatians 5:19-21)
“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)
When a person is abiding in Christ, fruit of godliness will be revealed through them without even trying. There will be “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.” When we are out of alignment with abiding, we see works of flesh. The works tell the truth: the attitudes, the reactions, the way we respond to people and circumstances in our lives. Our responses reveal either immature faith, or mature faith. Mature faith abides and rests in full confidence in God and gives no room for self. Mature faith denies self, picks up its cross and follows Him wherever He leads, knowing that He is right and He is always good.
If we struggle to abide, the problem is faith, not trying harder to abide. We cannot try to abide. We either abide or we do not. We live exactly what we believe, and the fruit of our beliefs will either be fleshly, or it will be with fruit from the spirit based in love. As a Christian, we abide in Christ -- actually, but we must also abide in Christ experientially. Both are necessary. Our abiding position in Christ, is realized by faith. We must believe that we actually do abide in Him, because scripture says we do, and that sovereign God is able to lead us, able to work out His will, able to do all He promised, and that whatever He chooses for our lives is the best choice.
Abiding is being who you are in Christ, and abiding is also doing. The doing flows from the being, but the doing is not your doing. It’s the Father’s doing in and through you. Abiding is being who you are as a righteous being who has been made new by God, and moving with Him to do all He prepared in advance for you to do, all the while knowing it is impossible for you to do what He asks. He asks you to love enemies, to rejoice in persecution, perhaps even to die for your faith. He calls you to walk above circumstances, to raise the dead, and see the lame walk. He calls you to make disciples of all nations and baptize them in His Name, teaching them to do all He commanded. All that He calls you to do is impossible to do apart from Him. But as you abide in Him, fully believing that you are who He says you are, and that you can do what He says you can do, He will do amazing things in and through you and He will receive glory, because it’s His work through you, not your own work. You cannot touch the work or take any credit.
A person who is abiding in Christ moves in the flow of God. The flow of God is complete acceptance that whatever is ... is. You are a vessel for the life of God flowing through you, accomplishing His will on earth as it is in the spiritual realm. So at the end of your life on this planet, you can say, along with Jesus, “I have done nothing.” This is the goal of abiding, doing the will of God for His glory.
How do we get into alignment if we struggle with abiding? The key to alignment is recognizing we are out of line. First, watch your emotions to see what is going on in your spirit and your soul. Your emotions are great indicators and warning systems to keep you in tune. If you feel bold and courageous and you want God honoured, you sense power; you know you are weak, yet you sense you are very secure. This is an indication you are abiding.
If you are frustrated and scared, angry and depressed, you are not abiding. You are trying to get something you want, and your goal is being blocked by a circumstance, a person or by God Himself. Check yourself, focus on the glory of God and His will, and determine to die to any desire that is not for His glory. Deny fleshly impulses to rule you. The flesh is crucified and is not your master. You must not let sin reign.
To help understand abiding, we can look at heroes of the faith, like Daniel. While he was in the lion’s den, he had danger all around him, yet he was very confident. He knew he was weak. He knew he was nothing more than lion food. Yet, his confidence was not in himself. Daniel’s full confidence was in God alone. Only God could deliver him. Daniel knew abiding.
When you get out of alignment, you want to seek God’s face and heart, not His hand, not what He can give you or do for you. Don’t seek Him just so He will rescue you, or give you what you think you want. Seek Him and believe Him, no matter what He chooses to do. Even if He waits a while. Even if He allows harm to come. Seek Him to know Him, to love Him and to live for His will alone.
In the book of Daniel, there is a familiar story of three men who defied a king. For their rebellion, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into a fiery furnace. Before they were cast into the fire, these men boldly cried out, “ Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”” These men knew abiding. They placed their full confidence in the sovereignty of God in the face of certain death.
Abiders in God do not force God to do. They do not try to take over and pilot their own lives. They are happy to just be with God, whatever happens, even if God doesn’t produce the outcome they think they want.
Abiders get their assurance from God. They know Him. They do not get assurance from the outside world or systems. This is why it’s so important to understand clear biblical doctrine and why we wrote this book. We know, if you understand what God did in Christ to set you free, and you know who you are in Him, and actually believe these truths, you will abide in Him, and God will work through your live in powerful and fun ways.
The Christian life is fun. It’s an adventure with God, with twists and turns and a whole range of experiences. As you abide in Him, you flow with Him, with unlimited power and unlimited wisdom which all flows into you from God, not the other way around, for His purposes. You will live out the will of God, and in the end, you will hear Him say, “Well done!” As you abide in Him, you will be confident, yet humble, knowing He is in control, but you are content and safe in that control. You won’t try to get God on your agenda, what you think He should do. You will walk with Him in His and it will be the ride of your life! And you will see people come to faith through your life and walk with them, discipling them as they grow to love God more and more deeply.