Abiding in Christ is Step One for a Fruitful Life
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 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.
I am the vine; you are the branches.
Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
When we really think about the life of Christ in us — what He has done with His mercy and grace, what He has done with our sins and our hope for the future — we want nothing more than to bear fruit for Him. We want nothing more than to live a life that shows off to other people around us the great and wonderful works of God.
And then we go do stuff! Save the world, build great things, gather a bunch of people!
But that’s not where Jesus said to start. Jesus said to start by resting, living, abiding, staying in Him. That’s the hard part to figure out, right?
The only hard part is figuring it out. We can be apathetic, passive, and just wait for it to happen, or we can seek out what that means. Yes, you might figure out life in Christ on accident. A lot of people have while driving in their cars, while having a simple conversation at work in a cubicle.
But Jesus wants us to seek Him out.
He promised that whoever sought Him out would find Him. That doesn’t mean it’s always like playing hide and seek with a 1 year old that doesn’t understand the game yet. I don’t know how many times my kids jumped out and yelled “Surprise!” like that was the point of hiding.
But that is the point for God. He wants us to find Him. Jesus wants us to stay in Him and abide in His life as His life abides in us. He has forgiven our sins, but He still wants us to avoid doing anything that His life in us wouldn’t do. You wouldn’t grow grapes by microwaving them. In the same way, as we abide in Jesus like branches on a vine, we don’t put ourselves into places that will hurt our growth.
There are a lot of vague instructions and guides in life, but some things Jesus said are clear and sure. If we figure out how we, as individuals and as a group can abide in Christ, we’ll see what He means by ‘bearing much fruit.’