“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”
A proper understanding of the word “abide” in verse 4 of John 15, is key to unlocking the heart of the message that Jesus is communicating in this chapter. The word “abide” in the Greek, as defined by the Strong’s concordance, means: to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy).
When God created humanity, He did so by creating a human being, not a human doing. Why is this significant? Before Creation, God was looking to express Himself by Himself through His creation. He did not intend to create someone that would merely act as a “copycat” of who He was or try to look like Him, He wanted someone that that could be filled with Himself and live by His Life.
When Jesus stated “abide in me”, that is exactly what He meant. STOP, REMAIN, DON’T GO ANYWARE and receive Me and My Life. If Jesus Christ is truly the Christian’s only source of life and fruitfulness, why are we so much more concerned about “bearing fruit” (i.e. getting things done for Him) rather than filling ourselves with Him and therefore enabling Him to express Himself through us?
In my own personal experience, I believe the answer to this question lies in two root problems: 1) Pride and (2) Fear. Pride, because if I am really honest with myself, I actually believe that somehow in and of myself I can do something good for God and therefore it is my responsibility to do so, and fear, because if I don’t do something “good for God” then (A): other “Christians” will look down on me and I will not be accepted by them and (B) I will fall short of God’s love and approval.
The truth of the matter is this, it is not until God has stripped away everyone of my abilities and brought me to the place of realizing that He and He alone is the source of Life, that I can begin to receive His mindset on what bearing fruit really means and begin to allow Him to accomplish His purposes in my life.
True fruit baring, according to John 15, is NOT a result of me trying to improve myself to look like a “better Christian”. True and lasting fruit comes when the Christian finds that there is only one way that Christ can reproduce Himself in them, and that is BY HIMSELF. But how is this accomplished practically?
The answer to this question is simple, abide. By filling my mind with the Word of God through meditating upon it, I am literally allowing God to take control of who I am and therefore produce in me what He desires the most, for me to be conformed to Himself. This is the key to bearing fruit.
God is not looking for someone that has the Christian life “figured out” and is therefore accomplishing “great exploits” for Him, but instead He is looking for someone who understands their total inability and emptiness to produce anything good apart from God and WAITS (abides) upon the Lord by filling their heart and mind with His Word so that He can empower them to do His work.
The most truly fulfilled and fruitful Christian is the one who has found Christ as they’re ONLY sufficiency and allows ONLY Christ to accomplish God’s work in them instead of drawing from their own strengths and abilities.
This is a branch, abiding in Christ, that bears fruit.
“Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.” 2 Chronicles 20:17