“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch bear fruits of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, be bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” – John 15:4-5
Jesus used the word “abide” in verse 4 as a command to the disciples because He knew that not all of them are abiding – that Jesus knew Judas would eventually betray Him. You see, in reality, not all believers abide every single time. We may be working in a Christian organization, earn a living, practice generosity, and even serve the poor and still not be able to abide. That is why we need to know that there is a difference between work and fruit. It is not impossible to be working for Christ and still not be fruitful just because we are not abiding. But how do we abide? The only way is to be connected as the branch to the one true vine (John 15:5). We have been called to be connected with the vine in order to not just produce fruit but to bear it; for bearing fruit is a natural outcome of being in Christ and letting Him live His life through us. We love Jesus because He first loved us (1John 4:19). We didn’t choose Him, He chose us to walk out our faith in obedience to Him (John 15:16).
God’s promise in His word is simple and straightforward – “If we abide in Christ, He abides in us. (John 15:4)” Notice the mutual connection? By abiding in Christ, Christ also abides in us; but take not that abiding also implies dependence. The branch is dependent on the vine, but the vine is and will never be dependent on the branch. Without the vine, the branch is useless, powerless, and lifeless. Just as the branches of a vine rely on being connected to the trunk from which they receive energy to bear fruit, Jesus’ disciples depend on being connected with Him to nurture their spirit and be able to serve Him effectively. We are constantly reminded to also do the same (John 15:4) because apart from Christ, we cannot do anything (John 15:5). Aside from that, we are also reminded at how abiding involves continuity. The word abide in this text also means “to remain,” “to stay,” or “to continue.” That is why dependence on Jesus and continuous abidance in Him would result spiritual growth to fruitfulness. You see, spiritual growth is the goal of every Christian abiding in the Vine. 2Peter 3:18 says, “But grown in spiritual and strength and become better acquainted with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (TLB).”
However, spiritual growth happens through spiritual discipline, and there are two basic spiritual disciplines we should engage in the moment we start abiding in the Vine: (1) Meditation on God’s word or what we usually call our “quiet time” which includes scripture memorization (Joshua 1:8; 2 Timothy 3:16); and (2) Prayer which is our act of spiritual communion with God through means of thanksgiving, adoration, supplication, petition, and confession. And as our spirit grows, we start to really understand His word, decrease the frequency and severity of our sins, and increase our faith and trust in God, and in practicing our Christ-like qualities. This was already God’s promise until Jesus returns for He has faith in us (Philippians 1:6).
How is your spiritual life today? If you happen to not be connected with Jesus and still not abiding in the Vine or perhaps you become cold, Jesus wants you to recommit yourself to abide in Him. He desires a moment by moment relationship with you. Will you submit yourself to Him? Will you say, “Jesus, I’m inadequate, incompetent, inferior, and insufficient for every task. I can’t do it by myself and I need you. Please help me abide in you.” When you call out to Jesus like this, He shows up in your life in a mighty way. Just make sure that you are connected with the Vine – Jesus Christ.
Talk it over with your small group:
- How does abiding in Jesus (the “Truth and True Vine”) affect our daily lives? (Read John 8:32)
- What did Christ come to this earth to provide for all humanity? (Read John 10:10)
- How can we become connected with Christ? (Read John 1:12)