TO CHEW ON: "'Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in Me.'" John 15:4
The word "abide" occurs nine times in the span of eight verses of today's reading (John 15:4-10) all in red-letters in my Bible, i.e. the teachings of Jesus as John recalls them. When Jesus repeats a word that many times, we do well to take notice.
The English word "abide" means: 1] to remain, continue, stay; 2] to have one's abode, dwell, reside; 3] to continue in a particular condition.
The Greek word transliterated abide (meno) means to remain, abide: 1] in reference to a place, to sojourn, tarry; 2] to continue to be present; 3] to be held, kept, continually; 4] in reference to a station or condition, to remain as one, not become another or different.
Keeping these definitions in mind, let's burrow down a bit into what Jesus tells us about abiding.
1. It goes both ways. We abide in Jesus and He abides in us - John 15:4.
2. Abiding in Him is the only way we can bear fruit (He uses the metaphor of the branch connected to the vine) - John 15:4,5. The fruit we bear out of this abiding brings glory to God - John 15:8.
3. If we don't abide in Him—aren't connected to Him in a branch-vine way—we'll wither and find ourselves "'...cast out...'" - John 15:6.
4. Abiding in Him changes us at a very foundational level—a thought level ("'…My words abide in you…'")—that leads to right praying and answered prayer - John 15:7.
5. This abode is a home of love - John 15:9.
6. This love leads to our obedience - John 15:10.
John talks about abiding in his letters as well. References there add even more depth to our understanding of what it means to abide:
7. When we abide in Jesus, He is our example of how to live - 1 John 2:6.
8. Our abiding in Him helps us to face the future with confidence, including looking forward, without shame, to His return - 1 John 2:28.
9. Abiding in Him equals not sinning - 1 John 3:6. I read this as not that we will never sin, but that we aren't cavalier about sin, we don't live in sin, it isn't our lifestyle.
10. Abiding includes believing the doctrine Jesus taught about His connection to God - 2 John 1:9.
I love the peace, contentment, loyalty, and perseverance the word abide conveys. When we abide in Christ we're stable, rooted, not looking to move to another spiritual home. Not only that, but as we live with the sap of our creator God flowing through us, our prayers are answered and we bear fruit!
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, help me to realize, day to day, this abiding connection with You in love, obedience, answered prayer, and fruitfulness. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.