Abiding in Christ

November 9, 2009

I was talking with a friend this morning about a passage I’m sure many of us know well:

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:4-7 NKJV)

How do we “abide” or “remain” in Jesus? It’s something so much easier than we’ve perhaps believed it to be.

“Abiding” in Christ is not some ethereal, high plane of being that we ascend to after years of grueling spiritual abandonment and sacrifice. The enemy has tried to convince us otherwise, but it is not something reserved for a select few monks or nuns, nor is it something that can only be had by the “really spiritual people” through some special means of prayer.

Abiding in Christ is about having a living, growing, vibrant, active friendship with Him. To “abide” (or “remain” as the NIV puts it) in Christ is merely being connected to Him through the simple disciplines of prayer, fasting, giving, obedience, and living the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) lifestyle. If I could paraphrase it in my own words, Jesus says: “Let’s keep talking. I’ll talk to you if you talk to me. I’ll give you what you need, I’ll strengthen you, I’ll teach you about Me, I’ll fill you with joy and peace, and I’ll cause you to long and hope for Me alone. Just don’t stop talking, giving your heart, committing to obey, and running hard, even when it is difficult or boring.”

God has made it so simple for us to abide in Him, yet it’s something so simple that few actually do it with consistency. Having time set aside daily to read and pray the Word back to God, setting a day or two during the week to fast, watching our speech, managing our time, and committing to obey God in everything are some of the simplest things we could ever do. It’s not too ethereal. This is how we live in awareness of His love (John 15:9-10), this is how we bear fruit (John 15:8), and this is how we will stand before Him with confidence when He returns (1 John 2:28). This is how we abide. For if we don’t give up, we will reap what we have sown in friendship with Him (Galatians 6:7-9).

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