“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 NIV
Gardening is such a relaxing, enjoyable, although labor intensive pastime. With the first hints of spring, we gardeners hurry outdoors to ready the soil and start planting. A vegetable garden gives great satisfaction when, after weeks of hard work, those first tomatoes and squash come off the vine and an hour later, they are enjoyed for dinner. Jesus uses a gardening theme in John 15:1-17 to make His point.
Jesus said in John 15:1 NIV, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” Jesus is the source of life and fruitfulness. He also tells us in verse 5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.” Jesus is the vine. The branches are believers. When we remain in Christ, we bear not just some fruit, but much fruit. That is the goal of everyone who plants a garden, much fruit. But what is “remaining in Christ” or “abiding” as some versions translate it, and how do we do it? The answer lies in three intertwining characteristics of vines and branches.
The first characteristic is the connection between the branch and the vine. The branch is attached to the vine and the vine is attached to the branch. If you have put your faith in Jesus Christ and accepted Him as your Lord and Savior, you are connected to Him. Jesus said, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.”
The second characteristic is dependence. The branch is dependent upon the vine, but the vine is not dependent upon the branch. Like the life-giving sap that carries water and nutrients from the roots, through the vine to the branches, the life-giving power of Jesus flows into believers giving us not only eternal life but also the transforming power to live each day in victory. Without the vine, the branch is lifeless, useless, and powerless. Without Jesus man is dead in his sin.
Finally, there is continuance. To bear fruit, the branch is continually attached to the vine. If the branch is separated from the vine at any point in the developmental process, there will be no fruit. To remain in Jesus, we persevere. We never stop believing, trusting, and depending upon Him. We are continually united with Him.
How do we remain in Christ? By keeping His words in our hearts and minds so that they are renewing and reviving us daily. We remain in Him by talking with Him in prayer and by seeking His will in everything we do and by being obedient to His commands.
Wherever you are on your spiritual journey you can experience more and more of this connection with Jesus to greater and greater degrees. You can be more like Him, bear more fruit, and grow more in your relationship with Him. Just remain in Him.
Lord Jesus, thank you for salvation
that comes by grace through faith in you. My life is in You and I depend upon Your power
to live in victory every day. Help me
share life-giving words with others today so
that they too, might become connected to
You, the source of everlasting life.
Susan Sims Meyer
Thoughts and paintings from my personal quiet time and Bible study