What’s this word “abide” really all about? To abide means to live with, dwell, remain, to stay.
We are asked to dwell with Jesus. We are asked to remain in relationship with Jesus as He is in relationship to the Father. Their relationship is one based completely on authentic and devoted love.
Jesus is not trying to scare us into believing! Instead we are invited into a loving relationship with God. We are invited to stay “connected” to God!
If you have ever really looked at a vine and its branches, they are intertwined. They are wrapped around each other. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell the vine from the branch! We as people are invited into that kind of relationship with Christ!
Once we begin an abiding relationship with Jesus then we find ourselves developing into fruit bearing branches.
John 15:16 says,
“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.”
Here is a difficult question. What’s it like to be pruned?
Pruning sounds like it hurts! Actually, when we prune a branch it’s to prevent the tree or plant from an injury. We trim a limb back because it is getting too heavy and might break.
We cut some branches off because they draw food and sap from the rest of the tree without contributing to the strength of the tree. We trim off parts of a plant that are diseased.
I believe the pruning we have take place as people is similar. Sometimes we try to abide with God and we are too heavy. We carry all of our burdens with us. We carry so much stuff with us that instead of seeing God in us, all others see is the baggage.
We bring our over-stressed, burdened, workaholic lives to God and say we want a relationship. “I’ll talk to you when I’m in trouble or I need you, OK?”
John 15:2 gets right to the point.
“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes removes; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.”
How do we begin to abide with God when we are so overwhelmed that we don’t know where to start?
We might just ask God to show us what is actually important first!
The counterfeit vine could be money, or the things money can buy.
It could be power. But counterfeit vines produce a counterfeit life.
We may thrive on attention, on recognition, on the adrenaline rush of being up in front of a crowd.
We may crave affirmation.
We may want to show the world that we are better than everyone always said we could be.
We may crave control.
We may rely upon distractions of various sorts like television, the internet, drugs and alcohol or pornography, to enjoy meaningless forms of momentary counterfeit happiness.
But, none of these ever gives true life, and none can ever replace the wisdom that comes from God. How can we be happy if we cut ourselves off from the true vine who gives us wisdom and life?
A branch can’t survive or bear fruit when it has been cut off from the vine. And Jesus says, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide, rely, are “intertwined” in him.
Christ is the source of our nourishment. He gives us a true fruitful life! God will prune us to make us grow even more when we stay connected to the true vine.
There are of course many impostors claiming to be the true vine. If we “abide” with them, they often smoothly say, “Hey! With our method, our concepts, you can really have true life! You can really start to enjoy yourself. You have the ability to take control of your life and need no one to help you win at climbing up the ladder of greatness! You can experience the gusto of life to its fullest! You deserve it!”
And when you abide with them, they will sap your growth, promise you nourishment and safety, and then when they have drained you, confused you, and have used you up, they don’t prune you for further growth!
They poison you until you shrivel up and die! Be careful who you dwell with or grow with.
“The integrity of the honest person guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them,” Proverbs 11:3.
May Christ’s words cleanse us as we seek to bear fruit for the Kingdom, and may we work each day and be found abiding in Christ and the relationship he offers us with God the Father.
May we bear beautiful fruit, as the branches of the True Vine.
In His Shadow,
~ Mary Lindow ©
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Mary Lindow has a passion for encouraging others – all generations, careers or vocations to live expressing excellence through personal integrity, healthy accountability, and wise management of talents and skills. She’s a sought after keynote, inspirational, humorous speaker and teacher across the USA and internationally in Ministers & Spiritual leaders Conferences, and training seminars for various organizations.