Our family loves to watch house transformation shows: a couple finds that their house doesn’t suit their needs, so they hire some renovators to remodel and remake their home into something that suits their family dynamic. Old shag rug is ripped out and replaced with new hardwood flooring. Wallpaper is peeled and a new coat of fresh, bright paint goes on the walls. Awkward kitchens are renovated with a dynamic workspace with ease for work and family life.
Live in a house for long enough and you will discover its oddities and need for change. Over time, as people dwell in their residence, it changes from a house to a home. The character of the owner is reflected in the landscaping, design, and décor of the house.
In the same way, Christians are like houses. It begins with a transfer of ownership. Christ takes possession and moves in. Then there are the needed changes that he makes in every room of our lives. Structures of sin are exposed and removed. New décor gets brought in. And over time, God’s house looks more and more like the Owner.
John’s account of the Gospel is filled with the language of abiding. From the outset, we are told of God taking up residence with humanity. The Word takes on flesh and dwells among us (1:14). But it doesn’t stop there. Jesus is baptized and the Spirit descends upon him and abides with him (1:32). When Jesus calls his disciples, they abide with him (1:39).
As the gospel account unfolds, we begin to see that God taking up residence with us is more than just moving in to our neighbourhood. Abiding means that he has come to make a relationship whole and enduring. Christ’s incarnation isn’t a transient move of God. It is a move that will result in a fruitful and eternal change. Like a branch connected to a vine, so Christians are connected to Christ so that they will produce a fruitful life – a life that is pleasing to God with sin removed (15:1-4).
When Christ moves in to the neighbourhood, things change! Christ’s presence means that renovations have begun! But the remodeling is not solely for our enjoyment (15:11), but also that we might learn what it means that as he lays down his life to prepare an abiding place (14:1-4), we, along with others, might abide with him forever. By our sacrificial love (13:34-35; 15:13) others will come to enjoy Christ’s presence who abides by his Spirit and empowers our witness (16:7-8).
Don’t be surprised by the empowering witness of abiding with Christ! He prepares an abiding place for you so that you might be empowered as his witness to bring others to the place he has prepared!
As we return to John’s account of the Gospel, ask the Lord to prepare your heart to commune with him so that you might be sent out to bear witness to him (15:27)!
He’s dwelling with us to send us out!
Missional Application Plan: Take some time this week to abide with Christ. Open up his Word and abide there (8:31; 15:7) and ask the Lord to remodel you as his dwelling place.
Missional Action Prayer: Lord, help me know your presence and power. Change me. Let your Word dwell richly in my heart by faith this week. Amen.