John 15:5-8 (New Living Translation)
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
Jesus calls us to remain in Him or abide in Him. The question is what does this mean. For some in America Christianity is a one day a week thing or something that takes place in their lives for only a few hours. But is this truly what Jesus refers to as following Him? Is this true discipleship? The answer I believe is no.
If we are truly following Jesus as He lays out in scripture we see that we are called to deny ourselves and pick up our cross. This means we have made the decision to give all of our lives over to Him. Not simply a few hours a week or even one day a week. We give every day and every moment over to the Lord.
Jesus came to reconcile us to the Father. During this dialogue Jesus is having with the disciples before going to the cross He has spoken to them about going to prepare a place for them and that He needed to return to the Father. The disciples are perplexed and confused as to what Jesus is talking about, because they believe He has come to establish His kingdom right now.
But Jesus has also said that He would not leave them or us as orphan. The promise of the Father would come. Jesus desires that we would walk with Him every day. Through the person of the Holy Spirit we are able to walk in continual fellowship with the Lord.
There are some church traditions that never speak of the person of the Holy Spirit. When people fail to understand who the Holy Spirit is and fail to develop deep intimacy with Him, there is something they feel is missing. But when we understand that the third person of the trinity is indeed a person and that we can build a relationship with Him, we develop a level of intimacy with Him in which we truly begin to abide and remain in Christ every moment of every day.
Our ability to walk in unbroken fellowship with Jesus is not dependent on our performance or behavior. Will there be times when we fail the Lord, the answer is yes. I have learned many lessons in my life from many of my short comings. I am more aware than anyone how truly flawed I am. But thankfully my ability and your ability to draw near to Jesus is based upon His finished work and our faith in Him.
Remain in Christ means to simply walk with Him each day and throughout the day. Every moment of every day is an opportunity to learn and grow with Him. I have learned many things from the Lord when doing ordinary tasks like washing the dishes, mowing the law, and cleaning around the house. Some of the greatest lessons I have learned about God and His kingdom is simply playing with my daughter and being sensitive to the leading and voice of the Holy Spirit.
Incredible and awesome things await those who will remain and abide in Christ on a daily basis. Don't treat your relationship with Jesus like it is a one day a week or a few hours a week thing. It is to be all consuming and when we simply live according to the word of God that is where the abundant life Jesus spoke about is found. It is only found when we truly abide in Him.
Father I come to you today and I thank you for your goodness and your love. Jesus I thank you that you have made a way for me to remain and abide in you every moment of every day. I thank you Holy Spirit that through all things in our lives you desire to teach us about who you are, about your Kingdom, and use the things we go through to refine us. Father have your way in me today. Prune away anything that would hinder what you want to do and simply prepare me for your glory. May my heart, mind, strength, and all that I am simply be surrendered to you. In the name of Jesus, Amen!