Abiding is not just meditating on His Word and delighting in Him, and not just focusing on trying to bear fruit. It involves the action of complete obedience. The whole reason why we meditate on His Word is so that we can do everything He wants us to do.
The abiding, obedient Christian embraces the following ideas:
- That obedience must include Bible study. If we want to obey God we must know what He wants us to do. Therefore, obedience must include Bible study to find out what His will is. Then the next step of course is to obey that will.
- That obedience must be your lifestyle. Real obedience, that is, real abiding obedience is not just a once in a while thing. It must be your lifestyle—a continual obedience.
If you put these two ideas together it will keep you abiding in Him and you will have a good formula to give you answers to prayer. For the apostle John has said, “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight…Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him…” (1 John 3:22, 24).
I like what R. A. Torrey has said regarding these things. He said that one of the most common reasons why prayers are not answered is because people are neglecting the study of the Word of God. He said,
If we wish God to answer our prayers, we must study God’s Word diligently each day, to find out what the will of God is, and do that will every time we find it.
Again he said,
He demands that we shall listen to His Word before He listens to our prayers. If we have a sharp ear for God’s commandments, then God will have a sharp ear for our petitions; but if we turn a deaf ear to one of God’s commandments, God will turn a deaf ear to every one of our petitions.
Charles Spurgeon makes similar comments:
He will give us what we ask if we keep His commandments, but if we become disobedient and reject His government, He will reject our prayers and say, ‘And if ye walk contrary unto me, …will I also walk contrary unto you’ (Lev. 26:21, 24).
I will add one more thing about our obedience. Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40 that the two greatest commandments are to love God and to love one another. He said, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Based on these verses, I suggest that these are the commandments that we should consider most. When we obey these commandments all the rest of them will take care of themselves.
R. A. Torrey, The Power of Prayer, p. 99
Charles Spurgeon, The Power of Prayer in a Believer’s Life, p. 108.