Sunday, March 22, 2015

What it Really Means to ABIDE in Christ and Why so many Fail

We hear the verse "Abide in me".. and we get an image.  It's not bad, just not well understood.  Many people think it has to do with resting in Christ, that it's a static event.  It's not, it's an agricultural admonition.  Here's how we usually read this passage.  It's Right. But not complete if we do not understand the concept.

John 15:3"You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.…
 A more accurate rendering of this verse is:

Live in me, and I will live in you. A branch cannot produce any fruit by itself. It has to stay attached to the vine. In the same way, you cannot produce fruit unless you live in me.

In horticulture we attach grafts to living stems.  They host provides nutrition for the new shoot.  If somehow the branch disconnects itself from the vine, it will die.  It is impossible for a dead branch to bear fruit.  In winter it might look alive, it may look like all the others, but it's dead. Grapes is the idea here.  The hearers of this word understood it in that time. 

The fruit is the result of not only staying alive but forming fruit from latent buds that flower and grow into useful results because of living nutrition.  It is not just staying alive that is the mandate of the passage, it is the essential element of bearing fruit.. and that only happens as we stay attached to the living Vine Jesus.

So how does that happen.  In horticulture you nurture the place of connection.  If that is damaged the branch may die.  "I am divine and you are debranch" Keith Green sang.  It's still true.

Then in addition to keeping the connection, one must allow leaves and flowers to manifest as the sun and rain come on them.  It's essential if there is going to be any life.  That means more than resting, that means drawing on the Life of Christ in all his essence to allow you to bear fruit.

How do we do that?  It's not about church, it's about hearing and reading his word (not the same thing), it's about exercising the gifts of the Spirit of God, it's about nurturing and being nurtured.  There is much to do to become the man or woman of God HE intended you to be.  A fruit bearer.

Father is saying, "I created you before the foundation of the earth to accomplish my purposes in the earth.  If you will stay connected, I will empower you by My Spirit to do all that you are meant to be and do.  Do not fear, I will do it, and you will be immortal until my purpose in you is accomplished."

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