Abiding is not a simple thought or concept in the spiritual walk but is a life-long occupation and focus of our lives.
Today it is not my goal to explain what it means to abide in Christ (click this link for more on that.) Suffice to say that abiding means connecting with the Lord Jesus in an honest and vital relationship. Communing with Him in the power of the Holy Spirit to go on and continue in Him, thereby “living a life worthy of the calling we have received” and “attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Col 2:9-10 and Eph 4:12-13)
Today, I want to point out how much of this abiding and remaining in Christ is linked to God’s love for us and knowing His love. John 15:9-14
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.”
Last week we spoke about Relying on the Love of God, so it follows that receiving the nourishment and love that comes from Jesus is equivalent to being attached to the vine. Jesus Himself lived in the love of God the Father and now tells us that to go forward, we are to remain in His love, as He has remained in the Fathers love. How has Jesus remained in the love of the Father by keeping His Fathers commands?
- Believing that He is God’s son (1 John 4:15)
- Receiving Him as Saviour and Lord (John 1:12)
- Being obedient in our lives to what God says (1 John 3:24)
- Continuing to believe the gospel to remain in Christ (1 John 2:24)
- Relating in love to others, especially to those in the community of believers (John 15:12)
So why would Jesus want us to remain in the vine, experiencing His love and nourishment in the power of the Holy Spirit? For clarity on this, let’s look at John 15, the passage on remaining in the vine:
The declared purpose of God’s love and care is for the branch to bear much fruit.
- Fruit that demonstrates in a change in the character to reflect the mind and person of Christ, healing, wholeness, restoration, peace, joy, love etc
- The enemy’s strategy in the Body of Christ is to convince the masses in the Body that only a few, special, selected individuals in each generation are genuinely significant and will bear much fruit.
- The truth is that in every one of our lives: God has chosen us and wants to be glorified in our lives by us, you and me, bearing much fruit. Our past sins do not prevent fruit-bearing because we will naturally bear much fruit as we settle in this love of God.
- Our enemy will break down, accuse, discourage, condemn and declare us unworthy of God’s love so that we do not bear much fruit.
It has nothing to do with our own ability, as we are open to the vine, we have at our disposal the source we can draw from, the source of God’s love, through which power flows into our lives. Unfortunately, we make the mistake of making up our minds about how we will serve God; based on our human reasoning and personal preferences; we try to “force our own ministries.”
But living in the vine means we are open to the timing, the life and the agenda of the vine.
We have God the Father, the gardener to rely on to produce fruit in us, not ourselves. And to the co-operative fruit-bearing child, they can count on being pruned in love to bear fruit, more fruit and much fruit.
With this comes joy! As we remain in this love, obedient to His commands, His joy is in us. It is a gift given to us (James 1:17) in this love relationship.
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (John 15:11)
We receive abundant life and joy as we bear much fruit while remaining in the vine. Joy comes like a blood transfusion. Joy is in Jesus, and as we remain in Him, we receive that same joy like an intravenous drip, as a gift, as we live and remain in Him.
- Have you ever considered that experiencing the love and joy of the Lord is directly connected to how you remain and abide in the vine?
- God’s love produces fruit in our lives, good fruit and more and more fruit as He works in our lives and we co-operate with the great Gardener. Examine your life, is there evidence of fruit produced by God’s love in your life?
Thank you, Lord, for Your love and the experience of Your love as I abide and remain in a relationship with You. I know that Your love is in me as you call me to obedience. I know that this obedience is producing fruit in my life as my character changes to reflect more the mind and character of Christ. Thank you that as I love you and grow in You, I can experience the complete joy of knowing that I am in a relationship with You, that there is hope for my future and that You watch over my life. Help me to co-operate with the Spirit as He works in my life and prunes away anything that does not produce fruitfulness in my character. I declare that I bear much fruit and thereby glorify Your name. Amen.