Matthew 11:28-29 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
We have just launched our new album 'Abide'. We wanted to make sure that there was a sense of quiet in the album, a sense of space so people wouldn't tire of a wall of sound after a few tracks. We obviously didn't want to produce something that was an album to doze by, however, we feel we have achieved an album that has songs that are great for church, for in the house or car, or through headphones.
We are about to start a short series titled Abide, based around Psalm 84, the last two songs on the album. To me, the word abide is about being at home in Christ. Like in John 15, where it talks about God abiding in us and us in Him. Here are three principles of abiding in Christ.
1. Abiding in Christ Is Abiding In His House
Psalm 84 is about getting to the House of God and then abiding in the House of God. Abiding is about living in an abode, a house. Basing our lives in the House of God brings greater peace into our lives.
2. Abiding In Christ Is Abiding In His Word.
Psalm 119:165 (KJV 1900) - Great peace have they which love thy law: And nothing shall offend them.
Isaiah 26:3 - You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.
Meditating on the Word is a secret to peace. When you meditate on things that cause you anxiety, this will only bring more strife, but the Word brings peace.
3. Abiding In Christ Is Abiding In Prayer
Philemon 4:6-7 Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life.
Prayer is about communing with God, not just about sending a grocery list to heaven every morning. If God is with you then you will be peaceful. The more His presence is accompanying you the more restful you will be. Well, Jesus says that His peace is the kind that you can't get anywhere else.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Maybe the greatest evidence that Jesus is in your life is that you are peaceful when everything around you is not. In Christ you'll experience peace. You'll keep your head when everyone around you is losing theirs.
John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
When we are connected to God we have peace. When we are disconnected from Him we have no peace.
Exodus 33:14 And He said, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
You will be patient not impatient, long suffering and strong, not weak, walking calmly, not in a rush, thinking clearly, not confused. Walking in the Spirit is to walk in peace and power, not strife and weakness. On the very first day of man's existence, God declared a day of rest. He wanted to commune with his man Adam and wanted that to be the beginning of man's purpose forever.
His peace covers a lot more than just a feeling of serenity though.
His peace means you're whole. You're at peace with yourself, with God, with others, and with your circumstances and the world around you. You're not rushing through life, failing to enjoy each step of the way. You're not anxious about your past, your present, or your future. You're not stressing about the amount of things you have to do. You're not paranoid about others think of you. You don't have phobias about your body, your clothes, what you eat, how tall you are. You're not fearful about your finances, your house, your family or your job.
How many of you would think that describes you? Peace is elusive. Even for believers. The Smithsonian magazine calls our age 'the Age of Anxiety'. Worms eat you when you're dead. Worry will eat you when you're alive.
If we left it at that, we are left with a fairly vague idea of what abiding in Christ means. Is it a notion that somehow because I asked Jesus into my life 40 years ago that He is somehow still around, even though I'm not sure where or how? Am I meant to feel Him? Am I meant to experience God? What would the evidence be that He is in my life?
The first day after man was created was a day not of work, but of rest. We were created on the 6th day, the 7th was the Sabbath. The entire New Testament was called the Rest. The land of Canaan was called the Israelite's rest. Jesus told the 'harassed' multitudes to come to Him and He would give them rest. The strategy was for them to take His yoke upon them, which was humility in heart. This means that pride is at the core of much of our stress. We will do all we can to avoid shame. We fear failure. We are desperate to look good, to be accepted, however if we can embrace humility and faith we will rest. He who believes will not make haste, he is not in a rush. Faith takes us into rest, Hebrews tells us, something that unbelief cannot do.
Living in the Spirit will definitely help reduce stress. The Holy Spirit's name is The Comforter, literally meaning, 'One at your side to help you'. Just knowing there is someone at your side is comforting enough, but He will also empower you, counsel you, calm you, fill you and case rest to cover you. He is The Comforter.
Click here if you would like to purchase our new album, ABIDE.
See you in church!