abide in Christ, Abiding in Christ, Being grafted in, Betsy ten Boom, Christian vacations, Corrie ten Boom, John 15, Philippians 4, resting, sabbath rest, security in Christ, Security in Jesus, The Hiding Place, vacations for Christians
Jehovah Shalom, the LORD of peace has been our topic over the last two lessons. With the help of Gideon and Peter we found that the peace Jesus gives us does not rely on our circumstances but rather relies on God in spite of all circumstances. Gideon faced a massive army compared to locusts both in number and violence, yet with 300 men achieved victory. Peter faced a fierce wind and a thrashing sea, yet walked upon it.
Then, with the aid of the testimony of Paul and Silas we have seen that this peace is beyond our understanding and is a guard of our hearts and minds. It is a peace that boggles the mind and defends the mind and is like Roman soldiers who served as gate monitors to the city and who would let nothing and no one in that was not supposed to be there. This peace not only is otherworldly and defies our mind’s ability to understand, but it is incredibly powerful.
It’s odd. When I hear the word peace, I think of softness, stillness and gentleness. But, in reality, the peace of God is a force to be reckoned with that overwhelms and overcomes the wind and the waves, even the violence and intricate tactics of an enemy seeking to destroy us. God’s Word says that the enemy roams about like a lion, zealously seeking whom he may devour – which literally means to “drink down, swallow up” (1 Peter 5:8). He desires to stealthily steal us, sacrificially kill us on his altar and to violently and completely annihilate us, as if we never had existed (John 10:10). We are essentially born spiritually blind on a battlefield. We cannot see the battlefield much less the enemy waiting to pounce upon us. And how he attacks most effectively, even since our childhood, is in our minds.
This is where God’s peace comes in to play. Our Jehovah Shalom, the LORD of peace, the Prince of Peace has given us peace that is our protection against Satan’s extermination, battle plan in our minds. Satan comes against us with selfish pride, anxiety and fear based on very real circumstances, but God’s peace is greater if we “abide.”
There is an often overlooked word in the passage of Philippians 4:7. Actually, it is an overlooked word throughout the New Testament. It is a word that I just read over time and time and time again. It’s a simple, two lettered word. A preposition actually. Do any of you remember what a preposition is? Well, in Greek “The original or core meaning of…prepositions often indicates DIRECTION.” (“Prepositions and Prefixes,” https://ancientgreek.pressbooks.com/chapter/13/) In other words, is the person moving away from something, into something, under something?
In Philippians 4:7, the overlooked preposition is the word “in”. In some translations the word is translated as “through.” Although, when I studied the Greek this past weekend I cannot figure out where the translators got the word “through.” For, the Greek word does not mean to go “through” something, but rather that you are “in” something. After all, the Greek word means “in”. It carries with it “…the primary idea of rest…[of] remaining in place.” (pg 579). This preposition “in” is also found in the well-known passage of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things [in] Christ who strengthens me.”
This little word is vitally important, for without it, we would not have this peace. It is only when we are “in” Christ that we are empowered to do “all”. It is only when we are “in” Christ that we are powerfully protected by the peace of God that boggles the mind. For it is only when we are “in” that we are at rest, that we are at home.
“I Want To Go Home”
As an former employee of a health care center, I had to watch certain training videos online every month. They are called Relias training. In one of those training videos, the narrator asked a question concerning what the phrase “I want to go home” means to different people. When someone says “I want to go home” it can mean a variety of different things.
What does it mean to you? When you think about going home, what does it look like to you? What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “home”?
Some who say this may be referring to feelings like security or safety or acceptance, others may think of home as a certain place, like where they grew up or where they raised their children, others may think of it as a place where their things are, like their favorite chair or a fireplace, and still others may think of it as a person.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”
To “abide” means just that, “to abide, to dwell, to remain, or live.” When in relation to a person, it means to remain with that person, to be united with them, to be “one with him in heart, mind, and will,” (pg 959).
Jesus in this passage uses an agricultural word picture when He states that He is the vine, and God the Father is the husbandman/gardener. In Israel a lot of pruning, cutting and grafting was done to olive trees, but also other fruit trees. There were branches that were not producing, so they would be cut away. Others simply needed pruning to encourage production. Still others required grafting. In the book of Romans, Paul even talks about how the Gentiles were “grafted in” to the vine of Christ. Since this word picture is so important, I did a little reading on the grafting of trees.
It is amazing how one can take a small twig of one fruit tree and make it part of another tree. Basically, one whittles down the end of the twig into a point, and a cut is made in the bark of the trunk of another fruit tree. It is into this cut that the little sharpened twig is wedged and then wrapped up tight with plastic tape. Within a short period of time the little twig becomes an actual part of the fruit tree. It’s incredible how through grafting, there can even be three different types of apples growing from one tree. So long as the fruit is from the same family, grafting can be accomplished. One can even have apricots, peaches and almonds grafted together into one tree because they are all a part of the same family. And thus, the one tree becomes the “abiding” place or the abode of the different fruits. It is now their home.
Whether the original branches or the grafted branches, they are to abide in the tree, to find their strength in its life, their sustenance in its sap, their stability in its roots, their home in its soil. Even so, we are to find our home “in” Christ. So that no matter where we are, who we are with, what financial status we are in, or what location in which we reside, whether a five-star hotel, a straw hut, a mansion, a cockroach infested hovel, a war torn landscape, a prison, the Poor House, the White House, or a care center, we will be secure, we will be at home, because our home is in Christ.
We conclude today with a quote from the book Tramp for the Lord by Corrie ten Boom. Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch woman of God, who, along with her family helped many Jews to escape from Holland after the Nazis invaded during WWII. She and her family were imprisoned in a concentration camp, and all of her family died in concentration camps except for Corrie who went on to become a traveling evangelist and author of The Hiding Place. In the sequel to The Hiding Place called Tramp for the Lord, Corrie ten Boom drives home the point that Christ is our home no matter where we are, when she writes,
“Betsie and I walked to the square where roll call was being held in the concentration camp. It was still early, before dawn. The head of our barracks was so cruel that she had sent us out into the very cold outdoors a full hour too early. Betsie’s hand was in mine. We went to the square by a different way from the rest of our barracks-mates. We were three as we walked with the Lord and talked with Him. Betsie spoke. Then I talked. Then the Lord spoke. How? I do not know. But both of us understood…The brilliant early morning stars were our only light. The cold winter air was so clear. We could faintly see the outlines of the barracks, the crematorium, the gas chamber, and the towers where the guards were standing with loaded machine guns.“Isn’t this a bit of heaven!” Betsie had said. “And, Lord, this is a small foretaste. One day we will see You face-to-face, but thank You that even now You are giving us the joy of walking and talking with You.”Heaven in the midst of hell. Light in the midst of darkness. What security!” (Tramp for the Lord, pg 30)
No matter what we in America or the world or the Church may be facing right now at the end of days, no matter what personal or familial or physical problem or issue we may be enduring, not one thing of it compares to Christ. If we think the issue too big, then we’ve made our God too small. If we’ve got our eyes on the problem, then we are not seeing God’s handiwork. If we are focused on the storm, the unknown, the insanity of it all, then how can we possibly be focused on God as well? Truly, the more we focus on anything other than Christ, the more we will fear, worry, fret, get angry and make bad decision and do stupid things, and on top of it all, we will always want a vacation. We will want to get away.
After years of studying Scripture, I have come to notice something. No one took vacations. Well, once someone did (David) and it led to adultery and then murder and then lying and then the death of a child. In other words, God did not create us to go on vacations. But, He did create us with a need for a Sabbath rest (once a week), and most importantly, to learn the vital nature of learning to rest completely and totally in Him at all times. When He is our abode, our dwelling place, our hiding place at all times then we will find that He is all the vacation we need…and oh! what security we’ll have when Christ is our home!
Other Jehovah Shalom Articles:
“Jehovah Shalom: What is Our Focus?” https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/11/19/jehovah-shalom-what-is-our-focus/
“Jehovah Shalom: Peace in Spite of Our Circumstances,” https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/11/23/jehovah-shalom-peace-in-spite-of-our-circumstances/
“Jehovah Shalom: Do Not Be Anxious,” (Puzzle Piece #1) https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/11/25/jehovah-shalom-do-not-be-anxious/
“Jehovah Shalom: Abiding in Christ,” https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/12/10/jehovah-shalom-abiding-in-christ/
“Jehovah Shalom: Thankful Prayer,” (puzzle piece #2), https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/12/29/jehovah-shalom-thankful-prayer/
“Jehovah Shalom: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/12/29/jehovah-shalom-turn-your-eyes-upon-jesus/
“Jehovah Shalom: Think on These Things,” (puzzle piece #3), https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2021/01/07/jehovah-shalom-think-on-these-things/
Part 8: (puzzle piece #4)
Other Possible Articles of Interest:
“The Time Is At Hand: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/07/15/the-time-is-at-hand-turn-your-eyes-upon-jesus/
“At Home In Christ,” https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/09/09/at-home-in-christ/