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. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. (John 15:4, 7)

The word abide means to stay, live, or remain in a given place, relation or expectancy. As examples, we live in our homes at a specific permanent address. Remain loyal in our relationships. Stay faithful in our expectancy of Christ’s return.

Jesus used the analogy of a grape vine and attached branches to reveal the permanent state and purpose of such attachment to Him. To have life, stay healthy, and bear fruit, the branches must remain attached to the vine. If anything chokes the branches off from the vine, they wither and die.

Genuine Christ followers remain attached to resemble Him and bear the fruit His Spirit. Everything He has, He gives to the branches so we can bear fruit for Him. All the branches have, they give to Him as the expression of His sap flowing to and through them. We should so identify with Jesus—resemble Him and surrender to His life-giving flow. In doing so, our lives demonstrate the same nature, power, spirit, and fruit.

Spiritual Living Arrangements

Let’s look at some interesting living arrangements:

  • Psalm 90:1 says, “Lord, You have been our dwelling place [abode; residence].”
  • Then Psalm 91:9 introduces a personal choice: “You have made the LORD, even the Most High, your dwelling place [home; habitation].”
  • Psalm 91:1 speaks to permanency:, “He who dwells [stays, remains, lives] in the secret place of the Most High shall abide [stay permanently, remain, tarry] under the shadow of the Almighty.”
  • In John 14:23, Jesus said, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode [residence] with him.”
  • Then i1 Corinthians 3:16, reveals another Resident: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells [resides; occupies, cohabitates] in you?”

From all this we find we have a choice to remain, reside, live in Christ. Also, the Holy Spirit lives, takes up residence in, and cohabitates within genuine, regenerated followers of Christ. The Holy Spirit is a permanent resident. But each person must choose to take up permanent residence in Christ every day. This highlights the “if” of Jesus grapevine analogy. On this “if” hinges spiritual fruit and power in prayer.

The condition of a man’s home is a reflection on the man.[i]

Where do you Live?

There’s no real life apart from Christ. Chasing selfish desires or what the world offers is the equivalent to branches dropping from the Vine to attach themselves to shiny garden tools. Nothing but the Vine gives life. Only the Vine develops spiritual fruit. No other source promotes spiritual maturity. Only as we permanently abide in Christ, and surrender to the Holy Spirit living inside, is such spiritual growth and vitality possible. In these close living arrangements can we develop a more intimate relationship with Jesus.

Are you comfortable with your living arrangements?

* Some thoughts excerpted from Nate’s upcoming book, Called to Christlikeness, not Christianity.

[i] John Phillips, Exploring the Book of Daniel, (Kregel Publications, 2004), 160.

 

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