The Mutuality of Abiding
Key Passage to Read and Treasure
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, ESV)
Many are discovering and rediscovering the richness of an abiding relationship with Christ, the true Vine as they dig deeper in His Word, open to the Holy Spirit, make prayer and communion with Christ a daily habit. One of the joys and perks of Christian spirituality is being part of Jesus, which is different from simply having faith in him, or knowing him from a distance, as a mere acquaintance, but getting up close, personal, and embracing him as a Brother, Friend, Lord, and Savior. When we read the Gospel and Letters of John, we see he is one who enjoyed that kind of relationship with Jesus. He was not content to stay at a distance but sought closeness, desired intimacy and Jesus reciprocated. He was not going to wither and “die on the vine” but bear much fruit.
I was trimming dead branches from my roses. These branches were not producing anything. They were more than just an eyesore but pulled energy and health from the rest of the bush. I used to be afraid of cutting them back, but I have learned the bush is healthier when I do, and the roses are more vibrant and lusher. Jesus makes promises to those who pursue and are open to the mutuality of an abiding relationship. He promises they will not only enjoy his presence and company, but they will also bear fruit that is unique to that kind of relationship. They will lead rich, fulfilling lives. They will be filled with spiritual fruit that strengthens and energizes them. They will be more than disciples or servants, they will be his friends (15:15) and we all know what happens in satisfying friendships: there is a knowing, a sharing, a deeper joy that takes place which does not exist in other relationships. A good friendship is life-giving.
When you abide in Christ it is not one-sided but reciprocal. Christ loves hard. He is all-in. When he senses the receptivity of the soul and spirit, he does not hold back but draws close. The apostle James wrote, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you ( Read James 4:8). No time spent pursuing Christ will go unrewarded but become a reward. The one who wishes to abide will discover Christ wishes to abide with them and the fruit from that mutual abiding is rich and full.
Praying John 15:4-5
Christ our Friend, the True and Abiding Vine we want to experience that kind of closeness with you, to experience the richness of bearing fruit that can only come through the mutuality of abiding. Our soul is open, our spirit is open, our heart is open and willing. Enter in Christ, join us as we join you in abiding. Amen