an excerpt from Abiding in Christ by Andrew Murray
“More than one admits that it is a sacred duty and a blessed privilege to abide in Christ but shrinks back continually before the question: Is it possible, a life of unbroken fellowship before the Savior? Eminent Christians, to whom special opportunities of cultivating this grace have been granted, may attain to it; but for the large majority of disciples whose lives are so fully occupied with the everyday concerns of this life, it cannot be expected. The more they hear of this life, the deeper their sense is of its glory and blessing, and there is nothing they would not sacrifice to be made partakers of it. But they feel they are too weak, too unfaithful; they are sure they can never attain it.
How little such dear souls know about this life. They don’t realize that abiding in Christ is meant for the weak and is beautifully suited to their frailty. It is not the doing of some great thing and does not demand that we first lead a very holy and devoted life. No, it is simply weakness entrusting itself to a Mighty One to be kept, the unfaithful one casting itself on One who is altogether trustworthy and true. Abiding in Him is not a work that we have to do as the condition for enjoying His salvation, but rather a consenting to let Him do all for us, in us, and through us. It is a work He does for us as the fruit and the power of His redeeming love. Our part is simply to yield, to trust, and to wait for what He has promised to perform.
It is this quiet expectation and confidence, resting on the word of Christ that in Him there is an abiding place prepared, which is so sadly lacking among Christians. For when He says, “Abide in Me,” He offers Himself, the Keeper of Israel that neither slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 121:4), with all His power and love, as the living home of the soul, where the mighty influences of His grace will be stronger to keep than all of the disciples’ tendencies to be led astray. The idea that so many Christians have of grace is this: that their conversion and pardon are God’s work, but now, in gratitude to God, it is their work to live as Christians and follow Jesus. There is always the thought of a work that has to be done, and even though they pray for help, still the work is theirs. They fail continually and become hopeless; and their despondency only increases their feelings of helplessness.
No, wandering one; as it was Jesus who drew you when He said, “Come,” so it is Jesus who keeps you when He says, “Abide.” The grace to come and the grace to abide are both from Him alone. That word come – heard, meditated on, accepted – was the cord of love that drew you close; the word abide is the band with which He holds you fast and binds you to himself. Let the soul take time to listen to the voice of Jesus. “In Me,” He says, “is your place – in my almighty arms. It is I, the One who loves you so, who now speaks ‘Abide in Me’; surely you can trust Me.” The voice of Jesus entering and dwelling in the soul draws us to respond: “Yes, Savior, in you I can, I will abide.”