Abide in Me

He is the Vine, the source of life.

 We are the branches, completely and utterly dependent upon Him.
 
 The branches are to abide in the vine.

 In John 15 verse 5, Jesus says that if we choose to abide in Him, we will have endless opportunities to bear a whole lotta fruit. He goes on to say that without Him, without being in communion with Him, we can’t actually do anything. Much less bear any good fruit. Without Him, we can do nothing. Nothing of significance. Nothing of purpose. Nothing good or worth celebrating. Nothing to be proud of.

 If we want to live a life worthy of the calling we have received, we have to abide in Christ. But what does Jesus mean when He says, abide? I wouldn’t say we use that word regularly. Abiding is a sincere and genuine verb. To abide is to remain in something. To stay put. To dwell and endure. You can’t accidentally abide. You intentionally choose to abide. When we abide in Christ, we are fully present with Him. We engage with His spirit within us. We choose to stand in His love and do everything with Him.
 
So where does the fruit come in? One of the places that God describes what he means by fruit is in Galatians 5:22-23. He says that this fruit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. All of these things are good, pleasant things to carry and express to others. They’re not always easy to carry, but they come naturally when we abide in Christ.

 The Message version says, “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.”

We have the opportunity and responsibility, given to us by God, to abide in Him and bear His fruit. There is zero pressure attached to this command. This is not a “bear my fruit or I won’t love you,” kind of thing. He simply encourages us to first seek Him and know Him, to abide in Him, and these fruits will follow. If we whole-heartedly devote and surrender ourselves to Jesus, being joyful won’t feel like work. Being gentle won’t take a lot of effort. We won’t be worn out after exercising patience. We will actually embody these characteristics that God so freely gives to us. When we’re in love with God, and have an intimate, deep connection with Him, we’ll be the light that this world needs.
 
Jesus, in John chapter 15 verse 8, says, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” We should be eager to bear fruit, so that we can deflect all the credit, glory, and honor to God. Everyone we encounter should know that we love God because of the fruit that we bear. It’s evidence that He is good. It’s proof that He lives in us.

God gives us more ways to bear fruit in 2 Peter 1. He talks about embracing knowledge and perseverance, godliness and mutual affection. The Message version goes on to say, “For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” God doesn’t just want us to have all this information about the fruits He offers. He needs us continue abiding in Him, to continue storing up these qualities and enhancing our character to better reflect His. I want the way that I live to be effective and productive, fruitful and beneficial, totally worthwhile.
 
People should not only know that we love God because of our fruit, but they should be so taken aback by the realness and goodness of who we are, that they want to love God themselves.

There’s fruit that grows inorganically.
 
There’s fruit that bruises because it is not taken care of.

 There’s fake fruit that always tends to disappoint.
 
But good, healthy, real fruit grows by being properly nourished according to its needs.

Let’s abide in Christ and depend on the ultimate Provider to produce His fruit.
 
It’s sweeter anyway.

Author | Katherine Burnette

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