John 15:1-11; Christian Living/Situational, Obedience/Discipleship, Faith/Trust, Abiding in Him
"Abide in Christ": It's one of those classic Christian phrases we like to toss around to explain how to live as a believer. But what does it mean for us in practical terms? In His parable of the Vine, Jesus shows us what it means to "abide."
During His last teaching session with His disciples, Jesus talked about abiding in Him. In John 15, Jesus says He is the vine and God the Father is the vinedresser or caretaker of the vine. Then, "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5, ESV).
Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches. He is the core, the source, the root that feeds us, connects us, and helps us grow to fruitfulness. Without Him, we're just dried-up twigs. Abiding means we're connected to His life. John 15:4 underscores this, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me" (ESV).
The root meaning of abide is "to dwell" or "to take up residence." It has a sense of moving in and settling down--you're at home. And with Jesus, it works both ways: We take up residence in Him and He lives in us. As branches on the vine, we need Him to live in us, to pour His life through us. Without Him, we can do nothing. It's that connection at the core that brings us life and fruitfulness.
Go back and read through John 15:1-11.
- What is the Father looking for from us as the branches of the vine (15:2-4)?
- What happens to those who do not abide (15:2,6)?
- What's the blessing for those who do stay connected to the vine (15:5-7)?
- How do we prove we're disciples (15:8)?
- How does love fuel this "abiding" (15:9-10)?
- How does Jesus demonstrate abiding (15:9-10)?
There's a lot of good stuff that comes with abiding: love, growth, fruitfulness, answered prayer, glory for God. But it's the daily-ness of abiding that we stumble over. We often let the cares and busyness of life crowd out our connection with Jesus.
Would you say Jesus is "at home" in your life? Or do you treat Him like someone who just drops by once in awhile? Do you find yourself thinking that you just have to "go it alone" most of the time? Or are you drawing on all the strength and hope and purpose He offers? Do you find your life and joy in Him? Is it a matter of love?
The best way to stay connected or plugged into Jesus is through the Word of God. The Bible offers all the words of life we need; it's how we see, listen and learn from Jesus. It's how we know that God loves us and how we can respond to Him in love as well. When you make daily connecting with Jesus your focus, you're on your way to a fruitful life of abiding.
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My comments: Before I even knew the Lord as the Lord of my life I remember teaching my older daughters (5) that Jesus was always present (I did not know we could have Him always in us) and so we would often set a place setting for Him at the table at mealtime. I wanted Him to be real to them because God was real to me. Even though He was real to me I did not have Him abiding in me. What a glorious day it was when I asked Him to abide in me and I in Him. How sweet the relationship when the one You love abides in you and is ever present. How empty I was before My Lord and Savior came to abide in me. How bereft I was before I abided in Him. Imagine a balloon before it is blown up. I has substance, is a balloon, can be used yet is not fulfilled. When we blow oxygen into it it becomes filled and has a true purpose and beauty. We are like that balloon. We do not have a true purpose or beauty until we are filled with His presence.
Abba Father, thank You for coming to abide in me and allowing me to abide in You and be filled with Your Holy Spirit who teaches and imparts knowledge and understanding so we may be stronger in our walk with You. Open our eyes to the truth of Your Word and fill us with knowledge we can put into words to guide others to Your truths. Thank You Father for breathing Your life into us and giving us a purpose. We praise You Father for the gift of true Life. Amen