Jesus is the vine; we are the branches (John 15:5). You have heard it before, and you probably didn’t need me to cite John 15 to know where to find it. But, I want to ask you, would you know it if you saw it? Here are a few qualities of a Christian that abides.
- Their relationship with the Lord is marked by intimacy. In fact, Eugene Peterson says in The Message paraphrase it’s “intimate and organic” (John 15:5-8). Their love for Jesus goes beyond what he has given them and becomes mutual. If you abide, you move beyond faith that only consumes to faith that “bears much fruit” (John 15:2) as a result of conversing and living life in Christ.
- They do as Jesus has instructed. “Abide” is synonymous with “be obedient” (John 15:9-10). There is no “remaining” in Christ presence for the disobedient disciple.
- They are in-step with the will of the Father. “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7). Why? Because aligning our hearts with God’s will means that what we ask for in prayer will simply be “thy will be done” (Matthew 6:10).” As Saint Teresa of Avila says, “We can only learn to know ourselves and do what we can – namely, surrender our will and fulfill God’s will in us.”
- They consistently grow spiritually. Staying on the vine means staying well-nourished in Christ. Maintaining a healthy connection produces works of a mature believer (John 15:8).
- Their character is opposite the world. Picture a dead plant – dry, devoid of lush, green life, and brittle. Jesus called it “withering” (John 15:6). The Christian ought to reflect rich, sweet, vibrant joy that consequently comes from abiding in Christ.
- Their service is a result of intimacy with the Lord. Begrudging service is a foreign concept to the “abider.” True works of Christ are results of intimacy with Him (John 15:5).
In what ways has God taught you to abide?