Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
It is both an invitation and a command of sorts. We are invited to abide in Christ. It is necessary for us to do so. That is the whole point of all that He did. It’s not that we will someday get to a place where we can abide apart from Him and be fruitful on our own, but we are to abide more and more in Him. We are to depend on Jesus as if our life depended on it, because it does. We will never be what we are supposed to be or do what we are supposed to do apart from Him.
Abide means to stay close and remain there. So we find our dwelling in Christ, in a way. Through His abiding presence, we can draw on His strength and wisdom and ability. We find our source of life and the resources that we need to produce anything at all for Him. And anything that hinders that can be removed. He gives us the opportunity to be near to Him in the kind of relationship that produces fruit and brings glory to God.
Our relationship with Jesus is different than other relationships. It is an intimate, close, connected relationship, but it is not an equal relationship. Jesus is the vine, the sustainer, the source, the life-giver. We who abide in Him are merely branches, totally dependent on Him, drawing all that we have from Him and totally fruitless without Him. We can’t ever think we can go off separately from Him and produce something worthwhile. But Jesus is continually involved in His work on Earth through those who abide in Him.
May we be willing to stay connected to the source, to allow His life to flow freely through us, and to produce something amazing from that connection and relationship. Jesus does not expect us to be able to go off and do His work in our own power or to fulfill His will and purpose for our lives without Him being involved. Our lives before we knew Jesus prove that, as do the times we drift from Him and find ourselves frustrated and fruitless from trying to do something in our own strength. We were created and redeemed for this very relationship that Jesus describes. So may we be willing to truly rely on Christ alone as we continually abide in Him.