In John 15:4, Jesus is explaining what He means when He calls Himself the True Vine, He says, “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.”
If you’ve read Scripture, you probably remember coming across the word, ‘abide,’ but have you ever really stopped to think what it means to abide in something or someone? What does it mean to abide in Christ of all people?
We get a hint in 1 John 2:6 where it says, “Whoever says he abides in him (Christ) ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.” So, to abide in Christ one must walk in His shoes, carrying on His ministry to the best of their abilities, to endure persecution and suffering for the sake of righteousness, even to die should it be called on us to do. To abide in Christ can be a heavy burden, but it also promises to be the most rewarding life you could ever live.
1 John 3:6 teaches us a hard lesson saying, “No one who abides in Him (Jesus) keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has ever seen Him or known Him.” This makes our attempts of abiding in Christ sound impossible. Only one person who has ever lived has been without sin and it is He that we must abide in by being like Him in life. How can this be accomplished in our very limited capacity?
Of course, this is done through the gifts of repentance and forgiveness. We cannot stop ourselves from sinning, it’s a condition we must endure living in a world cursed by sin, but we can wipe the slate of sin clean because of what Christ accomplished for us on the cross. Because of what he was willing to do for us, we are seen through the prism of Christ and we now take on His righteousness. Through repentance and forgiveness, it truly is possible to abide in Christ.”
“As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” Jesus is saying here that, to abide in Him, we must place our trust in Him to provide all the things we need to bear fruit. If our goal is to produce the fruits of Christ through His Holy Spirit, we must walk in His shoes, trying our best to live by His example.
Fruits such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control cannot fully blossom on their own. To produce the best fruit it takes a strong vine and a caring vinedresser. Only abiding in Christ can turn our barrenness into fruits that produce a harvest of blessings.
In Paul’s letter to the Galatians 2:20 he attempts to explain what abiding in Christ looks like. He writes, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Abiding in Christ works hand in hand with surrender. To abide in Christ, we must surrender our worldliness, our passiveness, our religious laziness and our lack of sympathy towards others. To abide in Christ, we must shed all those things the devil uses to drag us onto the wide path of destruction. It’s not a task for the weak but for the strong.
And that strength can only come from Christ. Only He can be the source by wish we bear the fruits in keeping with repentance. Only Jesus Christ can be our lifeline to salvation and everything that comes with it. To be saved, we must abide in the Savior.
So, what will it take for you to truly abide in Christ? It can’t be done by simply going through the motions. It can only be done if we are willing to trust in Christ in all things. It can only be done if we surrender our all to the one who provides us life. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, give us the strength to abide in you. Help us to live our lives as Christ lived His to the best of our broken abilities. Thank you for allowing Christ’s righteousness to become our own and lead us to everlasting life where we may abide in You always. Amen.