How to Abide in Jesus
Updated: Mar 2
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"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.Abide in my love." John 15:4-9.
The word abide in the Greek, means to stay, to continually dwell, endure, or remain. It is not an attitude or a feeling, it is an action verb. Abide in the context of the passage from the gospel of John is used in the aorist tense in Greek. Abiding represents an action that has permanent or lasting results; there is no assumption or indication that the action has a completion.
But what does it mean in the context of our relationship with Jesus? Let's take a deeper look at John 15 to discover how and why we are called to abide.
The Vine and the Branches
Here, I believe is one of the most beautiful illustrations of the relationship that Jesus is calling us to. Notice that it is a relationship based in reciprocity. "You will abide with me and I will abide with you." You will remain in me and I will remain in you." It is not one-sided and this should bring us comfort and a longing for this deeper relationship with HIm.
John Piper says, "If a branch remains or abides attached to the vine in such a way that it is receiving all that the branch has to give, then that is a picture of what John means by believing or trusting Jesus."
The vine provides all the nourishment that the branches need to produce good fruit. This is what is meant when we say that we hunger and thirst for God. and Jesus reiterated this in John 6:35 when he proclaimed:
"I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst."
Abiding is about longing for Jesus, savoring Jesus, resting in Jesus, trusting in Jesus, and receiving from Jesus. Why does Jesus want us to abide?
"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."John 15:11
Apart from the Vine
John 15 is a promise and a warning. If we remain in Him, we will bear much fruit and we will have joy complete. What happens if we are not abiding? What becomes of us if we try to live and survive on our own without Him?
Compare and contrast the two images that I have provided. In the first image we see a branch that is healthy, flourishing, full of nourishment, and producing good fruit because it is attached to the vine.
In this photo, you can see a branch that is separated and alone. Notice that it is lifeless and no longer has purpose. It could not bear any leaves or fruit, it has become worthless.
Jesus warns us of two things that can happen when we are not abiding
1. We cannot bear fruit (no joy in this life)
2. We will become useless and thrown away and discarded and thrown into the fire and burned (eternity in hell)
As with all things related to our relationship with Jesus, abiding is a choice. If we believe in Him, then He is in us, with us, for us, and we are inextricably connected; just as the vine and the branch are. No matter where you are in your spiritual journey, you can experience this connection to Jesus more and more. You can be in union with Jesus, but you can also have communion with Him as well.
It should be every believer's wish to become more fruitful. It is certainly the desire of Jesus that we become so. He wants us to bear more fruit (verse2) and much fruit (verse 8). And, the closer that we become to Jesus, the more that we become like Jesus. Oh how we should all long to experience the love, the sweetness, the power, and the joy that comes from abiding with Jesus.
Blessings as you abide,
Susie O'Neal is the founder of Between the Gardens, LLC, an online ministry dedicated to encouraging other believers with the truth of God's Word. She has a master's degree in educational psychology and is an author and copy editor for a supplemental textbook company in Cleveland, OH.
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