Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
Have you ever wondered what the word abide really meant? To me, it sounds different than just living. It sounds, more intimate, more like a habit of being. It creates in me a feeling of comfort and joy, of closeness, and deep knowledge.
Jesus said in John 15:4 to "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
But what does that mean? I mean, really? How does one abide? And in this context, it is about being a branch on a vine. So as I think about it, what is that like, being a branch on a vine?
Now, I'm no gardener. I'm unfortunately one of those who has had only one plant that has really survived in my home. Poor plant. Struggling for life because of my ignorance. But my mom is really good with plants. She has plants growing, she used to do the vegetable garden, all that. She knows just how much to water, how much sun, how warm to keep the room. Her plants in her home thrive, when to replant, when to prune. They are large and lush, and beautiful to see. And her vegetables are always tasty.
Let's start with the vine first. It is the source of life for the branches. The vine is planted, firmly in the ground. It is strong, and immovable. It has roots that go down deep and brings water, nutrients and strength to its branches. Without the vine, there are NO branches. What would be the point of branches without a vine?
The branches have a job too. They absorb the sunlight. They grow and when ready, they produce fruit. The fruit can nourish others that partake of it. But there's a difference between vine and branch. The vine is the source of life for the branch. The branch grows out from the vine. Without the vine, the branch withers and dies. Life for the branch, without the vine, ends.
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.
Yes, I have a life on earth, sort of. I can get up go to work, take care of my mom, I can drive my car, blah, blah, blah. But what is the point? What lasting thing comes from that existence?
There is more to this life than existing. There is living, thriving, being useful, being helpful. But I have learned, and continue to learn, that my life has no purpose unless I am abiding in Christ. My life is intimately connected to Him. I cannot imagine my life without Him. I would be alone, and miserable, and hopeless. But He gives me purpose, meaning, life worth living. My soul is FULL, not empty or wasted. When I am abiding, I am free to grow, to do, to live, not just exist. And in that He produces fruit from me. I as the branch, fulfill the reason for my existence; to give forth fruit. That fruit is shared with others. They in turn can be drawn in and grafted to the vine.
Where do you abide?