“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.
“I am the vine, you are the branches.
He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit;
for without Me you can do nothing.”
(John 15:4-5, NKJV)
Have you ever read this passage, and felt a little bit lost, unsure of what it means to “abide”? I know I have.
Other versions of this verse substitute the word “remain”, and that helps, to an extent. But, I like to get really, really clear when it comes to instructional passages of Scripture — especially ones (like this one) that promise blessings for having obeyed them!
According to Dictionary.com, “to abide” is … “to remain; to continue; to stay or live somewhere“. The synonyms for the word also provide clues: “keep to; hold to; follow; stick to; acknowledge; respect; defer to…“.
I can break it down even further, just based on thinking through what these verses are describing.
Jesus is painting a word-picture of a vine and its branches… saying that He is the vine, and you and I are the branches. In order to produce “fruit“, we have to “abide” in the Vine. In other words, the branches have to stay connected to the vine. If you cut the branch off, it’s going to wither and die (verse 6). However, so long as the branch stays connected to the vine, and is taken care of by the gardener (God), the branch will stay health & vibrant, and can produce “much fruit“!
So, what does it look like to “stay connected to” Jesus?
Well, for me it means meeting with Him every morning, before I turn on my computer and “let the world in“. Mind you, I am definitely NOT one of those early birds who gets up before the sun to do my devotions! I’m lucky if I can pull my butt out of bed after the fourth time I’ve hit the snooze button on my alarm! (And yes, I have plans to read Mel Robbins’ book, soon! LOL). I then get my daughter off to school, too, before sitting down with my coffee & journal for my “quiet time”. But it has made a tremendous difference in my faith to give Jesus that first bit of every day. I also make sure to chat with Him throughout my day-to-day activities, asking for guidance, thanking Him for things that move my heart, etc. He says He never leaves us, so I picture Him always hanging out with me, wherever I’m at — on the couch, at the kitchen table, driving in the car.
Whatever feels right for you, to make sure you’re staying connected to (abiding in) Jesus, do that. I’m positive that God smiles when we make the effort to keep aware of His proximity.