Abide in me, and I in you. John 15:4 KJV
I love words! I love looking at the history of a word, what is its origin, its roots, its original context. And one of my favorite words is:
To remain, stay or continue. To abide is to reside. A verb requiring action; it is not a feeling, emotion or belief. It is an activity; a conscious activity which requires continual effort and commitment.
The Hebrew word found in the Old Testament is וַיֵּ֥שֶׁב – ‘yashab’, and the Greek word ‘menō’ - μένω in the New Testament both expand our English understanding of the word ‘abide’ by adding a relational aspect, the concept of an interpersonal relationship, a relationship existing within a shared space.
When these definitions are applied within God’s Word, this one five letter word holds so much depth and meaning for our everyday life.
John 15 is likely the most widely referenced use of the word abide within God’s Word where Jesus states:
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’ (John 15:4-5).
Here Christ is calling us to abide in Him, to reside in Him, to continually put effort into maintaining our relationship with Him, staying in a relationship with Christ. To stay in a relationship requires communication and our relationship with Christ is no different. In this analogy of the vine and the branches, our dependency upon Christ is clearly illustrated; here He leaves no doubt that we are reliant upon Him. We can do nothing without Him. If you walk outside and cut off a branch from a vine or a tree it will wither and die, it will not bear fruit; it will not have the ability to display the Glory of God or the beauty of His creation.
Likewise, relying on our human nature we are incapable of displaying the beauty of God’s creation, we are incapable of demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5). We may be well capable of putting on a facade but in our hearts we will not be filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. To possess these fruits, we are dependent on Christ.
Therefore, abiding requires the willingness to recognize our dependence on Christ, that we dwell in Him in an active relationship, growing and depending upon Him.
So how do we abide in Christ?
In verse 4 we see a mutual connection. We must let Him abide in us; we need to be united with Christ, take that first step of faith through accepting His gift of salvation, becoming a child of God.
Then in verse 5, we see our reliance on Him, to recognize our dependence on Him and to allow Him to lead and guide our everyday decisions (Psalm 119:105). Not just turning to Him when we are at a loose end, but continually relying and depending on Him.
And finally John 15 shows us that abiding is a continuous activity; continually abiding, continually growing in our personal relationship with Jesus. To daily abide in Him.
Lord, thank You for Your word. Thank You that while You walked to Gethsemane, we were on Your mind. Lord I thank You that we are not left abandoned to carry this command out in our own strength, but that You want to abide in us. So that Your strength within us makes it possible for us to continually abide in You. While we meditate on this thought, I pray Lord that You would bless and bring us into a closer walk with You; a daily, purposeful activity of abiding in a relationship with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.