John 15:4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.
The disciple must be dependent upon their relationship with Jesus Christ. When a disciple bears fruit, it is because of God’s work in and through their life, therefore one must learn how to abide. Relaxing, resting, and getting to know Christ is important work in the life of a believer. There is a mutuality of the relationship with Christ — we abide in him, and he abides in us. It is through this relationship that we receive all that we need for life and kingdom work. Just as the branches receive life and nourishment from the vine, so the believer receives everything necessary from Christ. A sign of abiding in Christ is bearing fruit. When we try to do the work of ministry without being connected to Christ we will not bear much fruit. It’s just as crazy as a thinking that a branch would bear fruit without being connected to the vine. Instead it will wither up and die.
Apart from the Lord we can do nothing! This is an important truth to remember because far too often we try to do things on our own. I have seen a branch that has broken off from a tree that has fruit on it. While disconnected from the tree, it still has some of the original life flowing through it, and already had some fruit growing. When you find this branch, you do see fruit but we all know that this will be short lived. The fruit is only there because of it’s previous relationship to the tree. The branch will not be able to bear any new fruit because, even if someone picks this fruit, the branch itself will soon wither up and die. It may have great memories of when it was heavy with fruit — but there will be nothing new.
As followers of Jesus Christ we must stay connected to the vine — Jesus! The word “abide” has in it’s understanding a sense of waiting. There is this vision of taking a deep breath, relaxing, and learning to wait upon the Lord. It is in this place of abiding that we learn to rest in the ways in which God wants to accomplish the mission. It would be a bit ridiculous if we tried to force a tree to bear fruit in the wrong season. There are natural ways in which things grow and develop. There is a season for bearing fruit which comes after a time of rest and nourishment. When we try to force things to happen on our own without abiding we will discover that we cannot bear fruit.
Merriam Webster also tells us that abiding means, “to remain stable or fixed in a state.” Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. The place of stability that we all need is found in Jesus Christ. For us to abide means that we are to remain firmly connected to the Messiah, and there we are to remain! Getting connected daily through the reading of the world and time in prayer is necessary for our spiritual lives. Apart from this we truly can do nothing!
Lord, may I live today and every day abiding in you. Amen.