Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (John 15:4)
What do you suppose it means to remain in Jesus? The King James Version of the Bible uses the word “abide,” which according to Dictionary.com means “to remain; continue” and “to have one’s abode.” It includes the idea of sustaining, withstanding, accepting without opposition or question, and even suffering for and submitting to. All those ideas seem to fit a right relationship with Christ.
Maybe the best way to understand what Jesus is asking of us is to consider how He used the word “remain.” We are to relate to Him as a branch relates to a vine. He said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:5–8).
This means that abiding in Christ, maintaining a life-giving connection to Him like a branch to a vine, is absolutely essential if we are to be productive Christians. Christ offers to live in us and invites us to live in Him, make our abode in Him, and remain there, accept Him without question, submit to Him, and be willing to suffer for Him. Abiding not only enables us to bear fruit, but if His word also abides in us we can ask what we want and it shall be done for us. What a generous promise and benefit, a promise He repeats in John 16:24: “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
Jesus speaks more fully about His intent as we remain in Him: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed 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” (John 15:9–11). Jesus tells us that remaining in Him also means to remain in His love. By obeying His commands, we remain within the love of Jesus, which results in the joy of Jesus being made complete in us.
As important as it is to abide in Him, it is equally devastating to disobey this command. We are not only unproductive and ineffective in trying to bear fruit for Him in our own strength, but we wither and are cast aside like a dead branch that is thrown into the fire. If you are a Christian who is out of fellowship with Christ, I urge you to come back to a close relationship with Him by confession and repentance. Then commune with Him daily by prayer and Bible reading (two vital and important ways to remain in Him). He longs to welcome you back.
Lord, how encouraging it is to hear Your words of invitation to abide in You. I accept! With all my heart, I long to abide in You, to dwell always with You and in You. Thank You for the picture of the Vine and the branch. Through Your precious Spirit, I choose to stay attached and allow Your life and power to flow in me and through me. Produce fruit in me that is lasting and attributable only to Your Spirit at work.
–Adapted from Encountering Jesus: Praying the Commands of Christ into Your Life by Norval Hadley. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Extra Commands to Pray. A FREE PDF DOWNLOAD that goes along with the book, Encountering Jesus: Praying the Commands of Christ into Your Life. It includes content for additional commands that the book does not cover.
Encountering Jesus is also available on Kindle and Nook. One Kindle reader said: “While I knew (know) of Jesus biblical commands, I did not really know how to translate them into my life on a daily basis. Norval Hadley’s book showed me how. It will put energy into your prayer life.”
God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. Praise God for the radiance of his presence. Give thanks that you can have fellowship with him and walk in the light. Confess any dark sin that you have not yet exposed to that light. Commit yourself to living by the light of God’s truth (1 Jn. 1:5-7). Ask “that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness . . .” (Phil. 1:9-11).
Pray for husbands that they will give spiritual leadership in their households and will love their wives as Christ loved the church.
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend
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Connection (Devotions for Everyday Life) © 2014 is published daily by Harvest Prayer Ministries.