“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
In this week’s series of devotions, I want to look at a specific statement contained in the passage above which is repeated several times throughout this section found in John chapter 15. It is the phrase “abide in me.”
The definition of this word is powerful. It is defined as to accept or act in accordance with. The idea here is that as we are in the act of abiding, we are agreeing with that which God is calling us to do and be.
I think one of the first things this phrase means is that we keep His commandments. Keeping His commandments means to love God with all our hearts and souls and minds and to love our neighbor as ourselves. That is referenced in Matthew 22:37. So, the first abiding is found in the verse above. “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
Let me break down this idea into some practical applications for the living of our lives.
First, pray regularly. Spend time with God in prayer, both telling Him your concerns, dreams, hopes, and fears. Prayer also means staying quiet and listening to God’s voice. We abide as we engage in conversation with our Father. We hear His voice, and He knows our name. That my friend is powerful.
Second, read and meditate on God’s Word. Notice the structure here. Read and meditate. When reading, though, do not just read quickly. Rather, ask God to teach you, challenge you, and change you based on His word. I find that spending time just on one specific phrase or passage throughout the day will give great insight.
Third, glorify God in everything you do. Find opportunities to praise and glorify God through your actions, even the small things you do. The early church in the book of Acts gives us an example of this. In Acts, 2:45-47 we read, “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
And fourth, participate in worship. Many people attend church; fewer intentionally participate. As we worship and serve alongside other believers, we’ll be growing in Christ and thus abiding in him. Our participation is the connection that allows us to grow and develop into fully devoted followers of Jesus. Finally, one more thing that you can see from this passage is that this abiding is a two-way street.
Our abiding is about a relationship with God through Jesus.
In other words, abiding in Christ signifies whether we have experienced salvation or not. The marks of this relationship are shown in the fruit we produce not of our own strength but because we are abiding.
That is why He says apart from me you can not produce Spirit fruit. The definition is clear. Christ followers are those who accept and act in accordance with Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
Our prayer for today is the words of this hymn, Abide with Me by Henry Francis Lyte:
Abide with me: fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.