The promise of Jesus that as we Abide in him, He will abide in us is a comfort as we face each day in light of this New Year. As he also promised that “ He who began a good work in you will complete it Phil 1:6)
In John 15, Jesus describes himself as the true vine and his Father as the vinedresser and we are branches. Jesus explains that the branches that do not bear fruit are taken away, but the branches that bear fruit are pruned to bear more fruit. To bear fruit simply means to grow in character — to become more like Christ and reflect the fruit of the Spirit ( Gal 5) And this is where we come to his command to abide: “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” Jn. 15:4
It really isn’t until vs. 10 that we get a picture of what it looks like to abide in Jesus. “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”
To abide in Jesus means to keep his commandments and to keep his commandments means to love God with all our hearts and souls and minds and to love our neighbour as ourselves. One way that we display our love for God is through our trust, prayer, and devotion to him. We abide by relationships. We pursue in love. We pray in love. We obey in love.
And here is the good news: We love Jesus because he first loved us. We didn’t choose him; he chose us and he chose us to walk out our faith in obedience to him. Apart from Christ, we cannot do anything. This is also good news to the tired person who thinks he must muster up the strength to pursue and know Christ as it is he who provides the grace and the strength.
Jesus tells us that we are his friends (let that soak in for a minute) if we obey his command to love, and that command is fulfilled through abiding. As we abide in him we will bear the fruit of righteousness. This does not add to our salvation by grace alone through faith alone, yet it confirms our transformed heart. And the offer to be Jesus’s friend is irresistible for the Christian. So abide in this friendship and reap the benefits of being connected with Jesus.