“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 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. 5 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. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
If we are honest with ourselves, the thought of abiding in God seems too good to be true. Why does something as simple as remaining with Jesus (abiding) under the watchful and loving eye of our Father become so hard? Let’s start with the end of this passage to understand Jesus’ purpose for this teaching.
V11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Do you see it?! JOY! This is Jesus’ desired outcome for this teaching. I love that he explains this to us. He helps us filter our responses to this teaching. If you hear this teaching and get discouraged because you feel like you are bad at abiding, then you missed the lesson! If you hear this teaching and feel like you can never attain that level of spirituality, then you missed the point! Jesus tells us that the reason for this lesson on abiding is so that HIS JOY may be in us and that OUR JOY may be full! So as you listen to this podcast and you meditate on this Scripture…expect the joy of Jesus to fill your heart!!
The reason so many of us have a hard time abiding is because we don’t truly believe or understand verse 3.
3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.
Before Jesus introduces this concept of abiding, he establishes how clean his disciples are. Being clean in the Lord’s eyes precedes the ability to abide in him. If you don’t actually believe you are clean, then you will spend precious time and energy trying to clean yourself so that you feel comfortable abiding. What a waste of time! The word that Jesus has spoken to us…it is finished…the finished work of the cross is sufficient in cleansing us from all sin! If you have struggled with simply abiding with Christ, enjoying his presence and fellowship, then I encourage you to spend some time meditating on just how clean you have become in Him. His word is enough to cleanse you! Though it is tempting to want to show God just how sincere you are, the real act of worship is honoring his work on the cross by allowing yourself to enjoy being clean in his sight.
Once you know you are clean, abiding in Jesus and his great love for you will become so natural. But what does it mean to actually abide in the vine? I asked the Lord one time this same question and this is what he told me:
“JUST STAY WHERE I PUT YOU.”
But where have you put me?
“IN MY SON.”
Wow, it really is so simple! When you stop trying to clean yourself up before the Lord by feverishly engaging in all sorts of spiritual activities, you can finally just rest back in His love. This place of rest is actually the source of all fruitfulness! And when we bear fruit, according to Jesus, we bring glory to the Father and prove to the world around us that we really are his disciples!
If you need a practical resource to help you connect with God, I encourage you to check out our devotional, Keep the Blood Warm: A 30 Day Guide to a Heart on Fire. I believe in just 30 days it will bring you into an ongoing experience and fellowship the Holy Spirit that will bear much fruit!