"Abide in me, and I in you. 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
This week's devotional is rather short and to the point, but I pray you will not miss the wonder in it. According to John 15:4, we worship a God who has promised to abide in us, if we abide in Him. This is huge!
But, let's start small. What does the word "abide" mean?
"Abide" is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary in three parts: 1) to accept or bear, 2) to stay or live somewhere, and 3) to remain or continue. When we apply this three-part definition to the words of Jesus quoted above, His promise to abide in us if we abide in Him deepens even further in profundity.
First, from our perspective, there's an implied "If" in Jesus' statement. "[If you] Abide in me..." So the three-part definition of "abide" for us may sound like this:
1) If we accept that Jesus Christ is Lord and bear our cross daily as we follow Him...
2) If we stay in alignment with His commands and live under the refuge of His wings...
3) If we remain in community with the church and also continue to share Christ's love with the lost...
Second, from Jesus' perspective, there's an implied "then". "...[then] I in you." So the three-part definition of "abide" for Jesus may sound like this:
1) Then Jesus accepts us in our brokenness and already bore our punishment willingly on the Cross of Calvary.
2) Then Jesus stays in constant communication with us through prayer and lives with us in our hearts and through the Church.
3) Then Jesus remains on His rightful Throne as Lord and Savior and also continues to Shepherd us and Build God's Kingdom.
Aren't these truths absolutely beautiful? If we abide in Jesus, He abides in us. The perfect Son of God, all powerful, chooses to abide in us. Wow!
But John 15:4 comes with a warning: If we don't abide in Jesus, we will not bear fruit for His Kingdom. Period. End-of-story. The better choice here seems pretty clear to me.
It brings God great glory to bear fruit for His Kingdom in many forms; however, the bearing cannot and should not be attempted from the lone-wolf's prideful pedestal. We must submit ourselves and abide in Jesus--our vine and source of life--always. Only then will our branches bear fruit.
My challenge to you this week is to gaze in wonder at the beauty of this relational truth of abiding. But, please, don't stop there! Take a step towards fully abiding in Jesus by opening your Bible and saturating yourself with the rich truths of the Scriptures.
Abide in His Word, and you will find yourself abiding in Him.
written by Chase Cotten, Media Director at IDES