I’m not sure about you, but I cannot think of the last time I casually used the word ‘abide‘ in a conversation. I was recently reading John 15, the story of the vine and the branches, and I saw this word, a lot. Got me thinking, there must be something important and valuable about this word if Jesus used it so many times in His teaching.
I went back and read through John 15:1-11 (ESV) and saw some form of “abide” was used 10 times.
In the English translations, there are a few different words used in this passage: some use abide, others use remain or reside. All similar words and definitions, but the latter two are more contemporary for us today. (I know I have used the words remain and reside more frequently than abide).
Abide: a primary verb meaning, to stay (in a given place, state, relation) to continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain. To not depart, to be held, to remain as one.
Jesus was very clear with His teaching here; a life lived following Him is lived by being with Him daily. Abide is a very intimate word, it is an expression of love and commitment. We are called to abide in Him because He is where we find our purpose and calling.
I did some research on vines to get some more context to this teaching and found out some interesting information. The branch of a vine operates as if its primary purpose is to reach as far as possible. However, when the branch does this it will not have enough energy to produce fruit on the branch. Which is what the branch is supposed to do; produce fruit. In order to get the branch to produce fruit, it must be pruned, cut back. Once the energy is redirected, the branch, while connected to the vine (source), will begin to produce fruit and fulfill its purpose.
Without direction and purpose, we can easily find ourselves acting like the branch; reaching as far as possible and fulfilling our own purpose, and not the vine’s. The branch sees its purpose as growing as far as possible. The vine’s purpose for the branch is to produce fruit. Going off on our own and doing what we want to do, much like the branch, will not fulfill our purpose and calling. Living this way runs the risk of us living a life displeasing to the Father and does nothing to build His kingdom. Then at the end of all things, we may find ourselves in the same boat as the people in Matthew 7:23.
Depart from me, for I never knew you
When we look at the word abide, we can realize the overarching theme to any lesson here:
Be with Him. Remain in Him. Reside with Him. Abide.
This is our purpose. When we abide in Him, we will begin to understand the pruning process, learn how to produce fruit in our lives and know how and what to rid ourselves of.
The fact of the matter is that Jesus wants you. He desires to be connected with you and to live with you on a daily basis. Jesus moved heaven and earth to be with you and He has created wonderful opportunities for us to grow and live in Him.
No matter what you do in life, remain in Him. We are called to produce, and as the branches to The Vine, we can only produce by being pruned, remaining in Him and focusing on what our eternal purpose is. He wants us to succeed and find meaning with our lives. We will only discover our eternal purpose and meaning when we abide in Him daily.
Maybe you need pruned right now. Perhaps you are reaching so far and into places God is not calling you to yet. Seeking the next thing, what is on the horizon, will not prepare you to attain it. But producing right where you are at is what will get you to the next step. And we will only reach that point when we allow ourselves to be pruned and choose to abide, reside and remain in Him.