Abide and Conquer

Man sitting with standing shadow

I named this post Abide and Conquer, which is a play on the age-old strategy, “divide and conquer.” This tactic has been used by many, including Julius Caesar, to successfully conquer in order to rule. As I see it, it’s very closely related to the scripture, “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand” (Mark 3:24). It’s a proven tactic that our own enemy often counts on to defeat us.

Today, the division in our vision is where I see us being conquered. “If our eye be single” is what the Word says in Matthew 6:22 NKJV. When our focus is split, we’ll be conquered. Oh, how well I know this! For example, when I have a fixation on the past while living in my present, guilt and shame colors my focus and splits my vision between what was and what is. In that place, I am conquered. When I’m hypnotized by the anxieties of my future while living in the present, fear absorbs me and splits my vision between what is and what will be. There I am conquered, too. We can be dualistic in our vision in many ways, but most if not all of them exalt something above God as an idol.  Whether it’s people or situations, it’s just elevating something else above our knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5).

What I want to talk about today is abiding and the single eye. Quite frankly, where we are divided we’re conquered, and what’s more devastating than to be divided within your own heart and mind? To have a single eye is to have a united heart. There’s nothing more unifying than having a clear, undivided focus. And when that attention is directed upon our Lord, then we are whole.

So how do abiding and the single eye function together? Without a single eye, you cannot abide in the Lord. While attempting to serve two masters with your vision, you are easily conquered in your thoughts. So, if you take that an additional step, abiding is a defensive stance of warfare.  To abide is to dwell in the Lord’s presence, and to dwell is to be singularly focused because God will have no rivals.

In searching our blog for “The Single Eye,” I found something I said in 2013. “Jesus as our Beloved is drawn to our singleness of eye because this makes us a bride rather than just a believer.  Only love will cause us to cast aside all that hinders our pursuit of God.” For me this captures the purpose of abiding and the single eye—bridal intimacy.

I have a good friend who Jesus set free from a lifestyle of sexual bondage and drug addiction. We were speaking the other day and he made a comment just off the cuff.  He said something like this: “The only answer to living in continual freedom from bondage is through abiding. Only when you’re abiding can you be free.” For me, this statement sums up the whole point I’m making in this post.  To abide is to dwell, to rest within the Person of Christ.  To rest in the Person of Christ, we have to focus solely on Him with a single eye (undivided).  And when no other has our attention, we have an intimacy with Him because there is no rival.

We serve a conquering King who divides between our soul and spirit, our joints and marrow, discerning the thoughts and intentions of our hearts (Hebrews 4:12).  When we abide in Him with singleness of vision, we live conquered and liberated from all that would rule us. Our God is the only despot who liberates to love and rules to free from tyranny.

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    • Sam

      Amen. Glory to god.

    • Sam

      I wrote so fast that I missed the capitals. 🙂

      “Glory to God!”

    • Sandy

      These words just shot right through me like an earthquake!! “Jesus as our Beloved is drawn to our singleness of eye because this makes us a bride rather than just a believer. Only love will cause us to cast aside all that hinders our pursuit of God.” For me this captures the purpose of abiding and the single eye—bridal intimacy.
      Ha-haaa!!!! He is beautiful! To see Him even for a second is rapture!!!

    • Leigh

      Oh Thank you, John! This was a divine word from Him to me this morning! Right to my heart!

    • pearl

      Amen John…Amen!!!
      May we all learn to abide more fully!!
      I love this post!!

    • Pauline

      Thank you, John. This is a favorite topic: the single eye (though not fulfulled in me). Brings me back to Martha’s book, “Adoration,” and a tape she did (actually it was the first time I ever heard of her), a complimentary tape: “The Three Marys Who Loved God.” I was so captured by Mary of Bethany and her ‘single eye.’ I’ve listened to it so many times, it’s burned in my spirit; just about memorized. When I try to explain it to other believers, it kind of gets fluffed off. But it is so key to that bridal intimacy that you write of. And now to couple it with abiding?!! God is so big in you, John!

    • Paul

      I missed this yesterday and see that if I miss a day, I’m really missing something very special! This devotional so blessed me as I have been meditating upon the principle and the importance of having a “single eye”. It is only by this means that our whole body can be full of Light…and if our eye is not single, than how great is the darkness! The nuance of bridal intimacy really captures what Jesus is after in our lives. You brought that to light so beautifully!

    • Ricardo Palmira Soto.

      Jesús Es Bueno. Es un proceso que si persistimos por Su Gracia y Amor, tendremos un solo ojo y permaneceremos en Él Eternamente. Gracias a Dios John.

      Google Translation: Jesus Is Good. It is a process that if we persist by His Grace and Love, one eye and we remain in Him eternally. Thank God John.

      • Sam

        (Another version/translation): Jesus Is Good. It is a process in (the sense) that if we persist by His Grace and Love, we shall have one eye and we shall remain in Him Eternally. May God be thanked, John.

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