John 8:31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Abide1: accept or act in accordance without fading or being lost
Disciple2: a personal follower
Truth3: the body of real things, events and facts
Free4: the power or right to act, speak or think without hindrance
Offspring5: genetic heritage of physical union
Enslaved6: lost the choice or ability to act freely
Truly, Truly7: to the fullest degree
Practice8: the application of something to acquire or maintain proficiency in it
Sin9: wrong choices and wrong actions that make God your enemy
Slave10: the legal property of another and forced to obey them
If you can 1accept or act in accordance with Jesus’s Word without fading or being lost you are 2a personal follower of His life. Jesus’s life is 3the body of real things, events and facts that give you 4the power or right to act, speak or think without hindrance. 5Your genetic heritage will not protect you If you have 6lost the choice or ability to act freely. 7Jesus tells you to the fullest degree that if what you 8apply and use to acquire proficiency are 9wrong choices and wrong actions that make God your enemy, you have become 10the legal property of another and forced to obey what you have heard from the wrong father. Please hear these words of freedom Jesus has seen firsthand with His Father and let them find their place in you: “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
John 15:6 Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. [NRSV]
Jesus is the appointed, reliable judge of the presence of life or the serious results of lack of it. His intent in that judgment is to encourage life and growth even if it requires some dramatic pruning.
Abiding is the challenge Jesus is asking us to accept in the truth of verse 6. Abiding with Jesus is the choice that does more than just preserve life as it was. [Preserve means to keep something in its original form or keep it in good condition]. Abiding – accepting and acting with – Jesus is the choice that will protect [Protect means to keep away from harm or danger] our life in Him. We are not alone because He is WITH us.
John 15:4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.
Abide; accept or act in accordance with
It’s important when a word is used four times in the two short sentences of verse 4. Abide is a familiar word but it’s not commonly used today. Abide becomes the reality of “word to live by” when you plug the definition into those four places.
Accept or act in accordance with Me as I accept or act in accordance with you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it accept[s] or act[s] in accordance with the vine, neither can you unless you accept or act in accordance with me.
When you accept or act in accordance with the life of Jesus and recognize His life is bearing fruit in you…then your fruit can happen.
Colossians 3:22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
I know my heavenly master but I haven’t paid enough attention to the awareness that while I don’t have a job and a boss, real life is my earthly master. I spend many hours each week in the Word and in thought dedicated to learning to live in this world “with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.” That’s where “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you” comes into play for me.
I struggle to string together a coherent prayer built on God’s perspective for the dismal realities of that earthly master. Those are situations so far removed from my own life; serious world situations and leaders that I have absolutely no control over. I’m startled by the realization that I’ve let what I work at with all my heart, my dedicated preparation to know my heavenly master, insulate my mind from the only possible option I have to obey that earthly master. It’s a revelation for me to accept the only frame of reference I have for those dismal situations I can’t control is prayer. May that new “sincerity of heart” continue to be so!