Following Easter, as we reflect on the death and resurrection of Jesus, we believe it is important as followers of Jesus to understand what it means to abide in Jesus. In John 15, Jesus describes the importance of abiding in Him and how we are to walk as His disciples. We want to take a few moments with you to dive into John 15 and see how we can implement Jesus’ words into our daily lives as His followers.
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 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. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 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. 5 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.
In the first few verses of John 15, Jesus begins by illustrating the concept of abiding in Him using a metaphor. He compares Himself to the vine, God the Father to the vinedresser and those who believe in Jesus to the branches. The picture depicts the nature of the relationships that should exist between believers, Jesus, and the Father. The definition of abide is “to cling to and act in accordance with.” Just as branches must be connected to the vine in order to be able to produce fruit, so must we be completely dependent upon Jesus in order to bear fruit as Christians. The fruit that God calls us to bear are fruits of the SPIRIT meaning we can’t produce these fruits on our own without the power of the Holy Spirit working through us (Galatians 5:22-23). In verse 5 of John 15, Jesus says that apart from Him, we can do nothing. Because only God is truly righteous and on our own, we are broken sinners with a fallen nature in the flesh, we cannot please God. When we put our full trust in Jesus alone, however, the Holy Spirit works His righteousness in us to bear much fruit and in doing so, please God (Philippians 2:13). The next important question to ask ourselves is: how can we know if we are truly abiding in Jesus?
8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 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. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
Jesus clearly states how to know if we’re abiding in Him or not. In verse 5, he says that those who abide in Him bear much fruit. We also see in verse 2 that those who abide in Jesus are pruned by the Father, so that they can produce more fruit. As followers, a good way to discern whether you are abiding in Jesus is to see if you are bearing fruit and becoming more Christ-like through the pruning of God the Father or if you are feeling stuck and stagnant in your walk with God. In verse 8, Jesus says those who are His disciples prove so by bearing much fruit.
How can we practically ensure we are abiding in him? The answer is LOVE. In verses 9-12, Jesus says to abide in His love. We abide in His love by keeping His commandments. What are His commandments? TO LOVE. Jesus says that the greatest two commandments are that we love God with our whole heart, mind, body, and soul; and that we love our neighbor as ourselves. He concludes by saying that if you fulfill those two commandments, you fulfill all of the law (Matthew 22:37-40). In order to properly love God, we need to first know Him. To know Jesus is not to just know about him but to have a personal and intimate relationship with Him. After being born again through faith and by the grace of God, one of the best ways to grow closer to Him and know Him better is reading and obeying the Word. Jesus Himself is the Word (John 1:1), so the more you read and live by the Word, the more you will know Jesus and live like him. Reading the Word regularly also helps you to grow deeper in love with God through learning about His perfect nature and love towards us. John later says, “Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have Christ. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” (2 John 1:9). So if you are looking to abide in Jesus’ love and bear more fruit, start by reading and obeying the Word.
Now that we understand how to abide in Jesus and bear fruit, it is important to know WHY God calls us to bear fruit:
According to Jesus' word, we are His disciples and should bring glory to God the Father (John 8:31). We are saved by grace through faith, but a way to know if our faith is true or not is if works come as a result of our faith. If we have no works as a result of our faith, then according to the Word, our faith is dead (James 2:14-26). We were chosen as children of God, so that we can do His will on earth and bring the kingdom of heaven here (Matthew 6:10). When we bear fruit with good works by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are doing the Father’s will and in doing so, we bring Him glory.
Jesus’ joy can live in us and our joy will be full (John 15:11). Being obedient to God’s word isn’t meant to be burdensome (1 John 5:3), but rather is meant to bring us complete joy. There is no greater joy than abiding in Jesus and His word (Psalm 19:7-8).
Whatever we ask God in Jesus’ name will be given to us (John 15:16). God answers the prayers of those who abide in Jesus’ words and love (James 5:16, John 14:13-15). He does so because He knows that when we love and delight ourselves in Him, we will ask for things that are in accordance with His will. By answering our prayers, we will have joy and will bring glory to the Father (Psalm 37:4).
We will love one another (John 15:17). Jesus said the first and greatest commandment is to love God above all. The more we love and get to know God, the more we become like Him and see things the way He does. God loves us more than we can possibly understand, so as we grow closer to Jesus, we begin to love one another in the same way that He loves us. Only by loving Jesus and abiding in Him, can we understand what it truly means to love one another.
Here’s a few takeaway tips to Abide in Jesus
Read, reflect, and apply the Word daily
Surrender to God in prayer daily
Constantly seek how you can love God and those around you better
Thank you for reading Faithful’s first devotional! If you have any questions regarding anything mentioned in this devotional, please contact us through the website.