I don’t know about you, but I love grapes. Whether it’s green grapes, red grapes, or black grapes, I tend to like them all. The grapes can be with seeds or seedless; I will enjoy them all the same.
Someone who enjoys them even more than I do is my wonderful husband. His love for grapes causes me to purchase them all year-round. If I wanted to save money, I really should consider growing a grapevine at our home. That would be awesome to have a whole harvest of grapes at my disposal. But let’s be honest, am I going to take the time to do that? Probably not!
While having my own grapevine sounds good in theory, I wouldn’t want to do the work required to maintain it. You see, I would have to learn how to take care of it, prune it, and even harvest the grapes. I don’t want to do all of that! All I care about is eating the grapes. I don’t want to do the work of a vinedresser; I would like the benefits of eating the delicious fruit produced from the vine.
In John chapter 15, Jesus uses the imagery of a vine and likens it to the life of a disciple. Jesus declares that He is the true vine and that his Father is the vinedresser (John 15:1). Jesus then explains the importance of abiding in him and what the results are from doing so.
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. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples (John 15:5-8).
Jesus declared these words on the eve of his death, but they still ring true for us today. All of Jesus’ disciples must abide in the vine if they desire to produce fruit in their lives. Let’s dive a little deeper into the topic of abiding in Christ. We will discuss how to abide, what hinders us from abiding, and the sweet benefits of abiding in the true vine.
How Do You Abide?
Before we discuss how we can abide in Christ, we must first define what it means to abide. Simply put, to abide means to stay or remain. It is a verb and takes action on our part. It requires us to do something.
But if Christ is not physically here, how can we abide in him? So glad you asked! Let’s look at the answer in three practical ways.
Stay In The Word
The first way that we can abide in Christ is by reading his word. The a clause of John 15:7 gives us some insight on this by saying, “if you abide in me, and my words abide in you…” On each occasion that we allot time to be in the word of God, we are actively abiding in Christ. This occurs because his word is allowed to abide in us.
In this day in age, we have many things that we can do with our time. We have to make a concerted effort to meet with the Lord in his word. Set an appointment with the Lord if you have to. Plan it out and make it a part of your daily schedule. We can’t expect this to happen on its own. There are too many things that vie for our attention. It is up to us to make sure we carve out the time to read and study his word. The time to do it will not just magically appear. There will always be something else to do!
Engaging In Prayer
The second way to abide in Christ is through prayer. As we read God’s word, he will begin to speak to us, and prayer is our way to talk back to him. Prayer is a practical way for us to commune with our Heavenly Father. It connects our heart to his heart. As we draw near to Him in prayer, the act of abiding is taking place because he then draws near to us (James 4:8).
Just like we have to set aside time to read the bible, we also have to set aside time to pray. Prayer is very much a spiritual act, and our flesh wants nothing to do with it. To combat this, we have to cut out every excuse and make it a part of our daily schedules. Are you a morning person? Then set an appointment with him in the morning. If you are an evening person, then set the appointment then. But by all means, set the appointment and try your best to keep it. As we pray, we are abiding in the vine, allowing us to bear much fruit.
Abiding Through Community
The last point is one that I think gets overlooked by so many within the Body of Christ. Jesus describes himself to be the vine and says that we are the branches. As a branch abides within a vine, it does not abide alone, but rather, it abides with other branches.
As disciples of Christ, we are a part of a community of believers that are abiding in Christ together. We shouldn’t do life by ourselves. There is so much to gain when we engage with a local body of believers. Please don’t overlook this step and think that all you need is Christ and Christ alone. We are a part of a Body for a reason. And within that body, we all abide in Christ together as one.
What Hinders Us From Abiding?
There are plenty of things that can hinder us from abiding in Christ, but I would like to focus on one in particular. It is the hindrance of unbelief. We allow other things to capture and hold our attention because we don’t believe that spending time with Jesus is worth our while. So we give our attention to things of lesser value instead of giving it to the One that really matters. We don’t make time to study his word or commune in prayer with him because we believe it’s not necessary to live productive lives. The truth is, most of us will spend the majority of our time on things that give us the most satisfaction. So the activities that will allow us to abide in Christ will not make the cut if we believe they won’t bring true satisfaction.
When we look to other things to satisfy us, we are abiding in those things. They become a false vine, with the inability to truly sustain. We can not gain life from false vines. This is why Jesus declared that he is the TRUE vine. Other things will pose as a vine, but you as a branch will just become dry and brittle and eventually wither away. This will be the result because the vine you are abiding in doesn’t have life-sustaining power. That only comes from Jesus. He is the source of life, and our sustenance comes from him.
May we do away with our unbelieving hearts and begin believing that abiding in Jesus is enough. Let us dispel the lie convincing us that we are boding well without abiding in Christ because we accomplished tasks on our to-do list but didn’t carve out time to be with the King of Glory. I desire to change the false belief that tells me time spent abiding in Christ is not worthwhile. I can do nothing apart from Jesus (John 15:5), and neither can you.
Lord, may you give us the proper perspective on abiding in you so that we can prioritize it in our lives. May we lay aside the unbelief that would keep us from abiding in the TRUE vine.
What Are The Results Of Abiding?
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 (John15:5).
A branch that abides in a life-giving vine has no other choice but to bear fruit. It is the same for those who abide in Christ. The beautiful result of abiding in Jesus is the production of MUCH fruit. But not just any type of fruit, it’ll be fruit that will remain. We will bear the fruit of righteousness and be able to reflect the very image of our savior.
In addition to bearing fruit, another benefit would be that we can “ask whatever we wish, and it will be done for us” (John 15:8). This is not for us to ask for selfish things that will only please our flesh. If we truly abide in Jesus, his desires will be our desires, and what we ask for should align with his will. Much fruit will then be produced in our lives, glorifying the Father because of it.
I would also like to point out that the command Jesus gives is for us to abide in the vine and not for us to produce fruit. That is such a relief for me because I don’t have to strive to produce fruit in my life. Or I don’t have to strive to make myself grow in the Lord. All I have to do is simply abide in the true vine, and the natural by-product will be growth.
As we abide in the true vine Jesus Christ, may we be patient and excited about the fruit we will bear. Although it may take time to bear fruit, it will be a blessing to all involved once produced. The righteous fruit that will come from our branch will glorify God and bless others around us.
Abide In The Vine
If you are a believer and desire to bear more fruit of patience, abide in the vine. Let’s say you are struggling to exhibit self-control consistently; seek to abide in the vine. Don’t participate in behavior modification and try to produce spiritual fruit by natural means. Jesus said, “as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (John 15:4). It is useless to try and produce fruit on your own, apart from the source of life.
May we do our part, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to remain in the true vine. Let us make every effort to prioritize reading his word, spending time in prayer, and engaging with the community of believers. As we abide in the true vine, the Spirit will produce fruit in our lives. Those around us will be able to eat our fruit and be satisfied.
Let’s stay connected to the vine!
- The enemy has a sneaky way of presenting vines to us, hoping that we might abide in them rather than in the true vine. Has this ever happen in your life? Were you able to see that abiding in anything other than Jesus will never give you life and will never be able to bring true satisfaction?
- Have you ever tried to grow spiritual fruit on your own? What were the results?
- What is one way that you can personally prioritize abiding in Jesus in your everyday life? Remember, apart from him; you can do nothing.