Most dogs are loyal, and my Max and Ruby are no exception. They are my constant companions. As I write these words, they are right here beside me. If I leave the room, they will follow. If I go upstairs, they go upstairs; when I come down, here they come after me. And when I get comfortable to read or watch television, Max especially wants to be cuddled up with me. He takes his job of lap dog seriously. As you can see, his favorite position for a car ride is right behind my neck. There are times when I think, “Could you get any closer??”
Occasionally, Ruby will go off on her own. Usually it’s to go take a nap in a new location; she has her favorite spots. But the other night while Jerry and I were watching television I heard a strange noise coming from the bedroom. Ruby had gotten into the wastebasket and had strewn the contents all across the floor. When I found her she was happily chewing on a small piece of cardboard. She hasn’t pulled a stunt like that in a long time, and she knew she was in trouble. They both know what they are allowed to do and what is off limits. But sometimes the temptation to do what they want is too strong. When they are staying close to me they stay out of trouble.
This week our Community Bible Study focused on the 15th chapter of John, and the concept of abiding in Jesus. We had to look up the meaning of the word abide. I thought it means “to dwell” and that is actually one meaning. Another definition is “to accept or act in accordance with,” as “I will abide by your decision.” But I really like the way Rick Renner explains it in his book, Sparkling Gems from the Greek.” The Greek word for abide is meno, and it means “to stay, to remain, or continue.” It conveys the idea of being “rooted, unmoving, and stable.” The Bible tells us in 1 John 3:6 that anyone who abides in Jesus will not sin. It’s when we wander away that we get in trouble. The temptations of the world become too much for us to resist.
This problem of temptation goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden, but Jesus has given us the remedy: abide in me (John 15:4). When we abide in Jesus, He also abides in us, permanently and steadfastly. There have been times in my life when I felt that Jesus was holding onto me while I was losing my grip on Him. I guess Jesus is better at abiding than I am. But what a wonderful promise! “Remain in me and I will remain in you” (NLT). It’s like an extra layer of protection. He knows I will not be able to abide without His help, because He also tells us in the next verse that apart from Him we can do nothing. He doesn’t just issue commands and say, “Good luck!” He comes to dwell in us to help us obey His commands. What a wonderful and gracious Lord we serve.