“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
If Jesus is the vine and his Father is the vinedresser, what does it mean for us to abide in him? The word abide comes from the Greek word meno, which connotes an intimate relationship. This is a relationship in which one chooses to stay very close to the Lord, to seek his will and the guidance of his Holy Spirit.
There were also physical aspects of intimacy in this imagery. In order for a branch to live and thrive, it must be connected to its source of life. Jesus was clearly stating that he was, and would continue to be, the disciples’ source of life. They were to remain connected to him. In doing so, their lives would bear much fruit.
If Jesus is the source of life, then his disciples (then and now) are called to be absolutely dependent upon him. It may be helpful to think of disciples as twigs, which can only thrive if connected to the vine. If the connection is severed, they have no strength or sustenance. Likewise, a disciple who works in his or her own power cannot expect to produce spiritual fruit. One who works in and through the power of Jesus Christ can expect to see a great harvest through which the Lord is glorified and his kingdom expands.
What does this look like for us today? To abide is to live a Christ-centered life, one in which he, rather than we, are seen and glorified. Each of us has a unique call to produce fruit for the kingdom. Some people do it in their work at home, others in the workplace, and some in vocational ministry. Our spheres are all different, yet the calling is the same: stay in Jesus through his word, worship, fellowship with other believers and most, importantly, through his indwelling Holy Spirit. A man or a woman who abides in the Lord finds true purpose for his or her life, as well as the strength and fortitude to fulfill that purpose.
Reflect & Respond:
What kind of fruit is being produced in your life? How does it reflect the source of your life and strength? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In our new six-week Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
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