Where Do I Live?
Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life. 1 John 2:24-25
My wife and I live together in our little cabin by the lake. If I desire that we have a healthy home and relationship, I must live there, by which I mean I must spend time in the relationship. If I worked all day and then went to the bar, or even the gym, all evening, I wouldn’t be spending any time in my home or with my wife. Of course, simply being physically present in the house, doesn’t guarantee that we’ll have a healthy home life, but it’s a prerequisite. Still, there are other things I must do – or not do – to build and maintain that relationship. I can live in the house and still be addicted to drugs or pornography. Even if I’m abstinent from those things, I can still be a selfish jerk. To have a healthy, successful marriage, I must live rightly in the relationship. I must daily do what it takes to stop being destructive with it and purposefully choose to build up the relationship. If I want a healthy relationship with my wife, I must deliberately live it.
This seems obvious, but I’ve missed it. I’ve spent years making choices that meant I was not living in a healthy marriage. In recovery now, I’ve had to learn to make choices differently, asking not, What do I want? But rather, asking, How would this affect my wife? What would be good for our relationship? In recovery, I’ve had to learn to live in, or abide in, my marriage the right way.
This is the illustration that John used in today’s passage. In it, he said that we must abide in – or dwell in – God’s word and that God’s word must dwell in us. We may claim to be Christians, but do we deliberately live in God’s word, allowing it to shape our lives? Or do we simply follow our own will in all things? John said that those who find authentic, eternal life are those who live in God’s word and will.
In following my way – in my addiction – I nearly destroyed my home life. Similarly, in following my way, I abandoned the authentic, eternal life for which I was created. In recovery though, I’m learning to live rightly in my relationship with my wife, building a healthy marriage. Likewise, I’m learning to daily live in God’s will, abandoning my own, which is the only path to authentic, eternal life.