Preface – by Andrew Murray
During the life of Jesus on earth, the statement He primarily used when speaking of the relationship of the disciples to Himself was: “Follow me.” When about to leave for heaven, He gave them a new statement, which expressed what should be the more intimate and spiritual union with Himself in glory. That statement He chose was: “Abide in me.”
It is to be feared that there are many dedicated followers of Jesus from whom the meaning of this statement is mostly unknown, along with the blessed experience it promises. While they trust in their Savior for pardon and for help, and seek to some extent to obey Him, these Christians have hardly realized to what Christ has called them to: to the closeness of union, to the intimacy of fellowship, to the wondrous oneness of life and interest He invited them when He said, “Abide in me.” This is not only an unspeakable loss to themselves, but the Church and the world also suffer in what they lose.
Why do people who have truly accepted the Saviour, and been made partakers of the renewing of the Holy Ghost, then fall short of the full salvation prepared for them? I am sure that in very many cases the answer will be, that ignorance is the cause of the unbelief – the unbelief that falls short of obtaining the promised inheritance. If our churches preached of the abiding in Christ, and of the living union with Him, and of the experience of His daily and hourly presence and keeping – if they preached this with the same clarity and urgency as they do of His atonement and pardon through His blood, I am confident that this would change. Many would gladly accept the invitation to this kind of living, and its influence would become evident in all the ways the Savior connected with the abiding in Him: their experience of the purity and the power, the love and the joy, the fruit-bearing, and all the blessedness thereof.
With this in mind, these meditations have been published with the desire to help those who have not yet fully understood what the Savior meant with His command “Abide in Me”, or who have feared that it was a life beyond their reach, that…?….
It is only by frequent repetition that children learn their lessons. In the same way, it is only by continuously fixing one’s mind for a time on a particular lesson of faith that the believer is gradually helped to take and thoroughly absorb them. I have the hope that it will be helpful to come and simply read over the precious words, “Abide in me,” with the lessons connected with them in the parable of the Vine – doing.this day by day for a month. It is my hope that this will be particularly helpful for young believers. Step by step we shall get to see how truly this promise-precept is meant for us, how surely grace is provided to enable us to obey it, how indispensable the experience of its blessing is to a healthy Christian life, and how unspeakable the blessings are that flow from it. As we listen, and meditate, and pray–as we surrender ourselves, and accept in faith the whole Jesus as He offers Himself to us in it–the Holy Spirit will make the statement to be spirit and life; this statement of Jesus, too, will become to us the power of God unto salvation, and through it will come the faith that takes hold of the long desired blessing.
I pray earnestly that our gracious Lord may be pleased to bless this little book, and through it help those who seek to know Him better, just as He has already blessed it in its original publication in the Dutch language. I pray still more earnestly that He would, by whatever means, make the multitudes of His dear children who are still living divided lives to see how He claims them wholly for Himself, and how the wholehearted surrender to abide in Him alone brings joy unspeakable and full of glory. Oh, let each of us who has begun to taste the sweetness of this life, now yield himself wholly to be a witness to the grace and power of our Lord to keep us united with Himself; and seek by word and walk to win others to follow Him fully. It is only in such fruitbearing that our own abiding can be maintained.
In conclusion, I ask to be permitted to give one word of advice to my reader. It is this. It requires time to grow into Jesus the Vine: do not expect to abide in Him unless you will give Him that time. It is not enough to read God’s Word (or the meditations offered here) and when we think we have understood the thoughts and have asked God for His blessing, to then go out in the hope that the blessing will abide. No, it needs day by day time with Jesus and with God. We all know we need enough time for our meals each day–every workman claims his hour for lunch; eating a large meal requires we take the time to do so. If we are to live through Jesus, we must feed on Him (John 6:57); we must thoroughly take in and assimilate the heavenly food the Father has given us in His life. Therefore, my brother, you who would learn to abide in Jesus, take time each day – before you read, and while you read, and after you read – take time to put yourself into living contact with the living Jesus, and to yield yourself distinctly and consciously to His blessed influence. In this way you will give Him the opportunity of taking hold of you; drawing you up and keeping you safe in His almighty life.
And now, to all God’s children whom He allows me the privilege of pointing to the Heavenly Vine, I offer my fraternal love and salutations. I pray that each one of them may be given the rich and full experience of the blessedness of abiding in Christ. And may the grace of Jesus, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be their daily portion. Amen.