Abiding in Christ
When people commune with God the very sensation of life is transformed, so that they are equipped “to see what is most beautiful, to hear what is most harmonious, to smell what is most fragrant, to taste what is most sweet, and to embrace what is most delightful.”
The image [of the vine and the branches] is that everything that a disciple might do without Christ is of no account, and not even of interest.
The image of the vine is archetypal in the Old Testament as a description of God’s love for his people.
One of the great misunderstandings about prayer and its fulfillment comes from the tendency to pray without taking sufficient account of Jesus and his teaching. “If my words abide in you, ask . . . .” Jesus clearly specifies here that prayer is an extension of his own word. Answered prayer is therefore that of the disciple who is indwelt by Jesus’ words, the disciple who is full of them and lives by them, to the point where his or her prayer flows from them as their logical extension, not as an expression of whims, dreams, or desires, however praiseworthy.
The vine never says to the branches, “be in me,” because they already are, from the word go! Jesus has never said to the disciples “be in me,” because they already are, by the Father’s grace. He simply tells them, and for him it is enough that he says it, “abide in me.”
To abide is to continue, persevere, never cease to be within this eternal divine energy into which God alone can introduce us and then keep us and cause us to remain . . . . It is only in God that we can begin to experience all that in him is eternal. To help us with this, the Father and the Son send us the Spirit, who comes within us, preparing a place for the Father and the Son.
We live in a fast-paced society. We’re used to quick results. It seems that much of our time and money is spent trying to save time—to do things faster, more efficient, and with less effort. We hurry through our daily tasks, so we can move on to something more important. Our “to-do” lists are longer than the amount of time we have to get them done, and there’s seemingly no end in sight. “Abide” is not part of our modern vocabulary. Few people abide anywhere with anyone in today’s culture. Who has time to abide?
The secret to abiding in Christ is found in these verses [John 15:1-11]. Jesus wants to spend time with you more than you can imagine. Yes, TIME—your most valued commodity. He wants it—from you. He loves you, He died for you; the least you can do is abide with Him.
Webster defines the word abide this way: “to remain or settle down.”
No fewer than eight times in this passage [John 15:1-11] He tells His disciples, “Abide in Me.” “Remain with Me.” “Settle down into a relationship with Me.” “Let it be normal and natural that we would commune together day by day and moment by moment.”
Sharon Hodde Miller
What each of us needs in place of the superficial virtue of niceness is a soul rooted and abiding in Christ. We need to be transformed so fully and completely that we actually are who we present ourselves to be. We need to cultivate a fruit that, instead of tasting worse than it looks, tastes even better than we could imagine.
During the life of Jesus on earth, the word He chiefly used when speaking of the relations of the disciples to Himself was: “Follow me.” When about to leave for heaven, He gave them a new word, in which their more intimate and spiritual union with Himself in glory should be expressed. That chosen word was: “Abide in me.”
Jesus has made it clear to me that . . . just as he has his home with the Father, so do I.
J.I.Packer & Carolyn Nystrom
Abide is an old English word for “remain,” “stay steady” and “keep your position.” What it means to abide in Christ—that is, always to be resting on him, anchored to him, fixed in him, drawing from him, continually connected and in touch with him—is a pervasive theme in chapters 14—17. There is no more precious lesson to learn, no more enriching link and bond to cherish, no more vital connection to keep snug and tight, so that it never loosens, than this. Abiding in Christ brings peace, joy and love, answers to prayer, and fruitfulness in service. The abiding life is the abundant life.
The word Abide is designed to help you remember that following Jesus is first and foremost about your relationship with Him. It’s about that wonderful, intimate fellowship between you and your Savior. And if you think that sounds kind of simple, you’re right! It’s supposed to be simple.
The invitation to follow Jesus isn’t an invitation to live for Jesus; it’s an invitation to abide in Jesus and let Him, out of the overflow of that relationship, live His life in and through us in a way that produces fruit for His kingdom.
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