Abiding in The Vine
"If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you." John 15:7 “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” John 15:10 KJV As I was thinking about this scripture a worship chorus from the 70's came to mind.
I found a new way of living I found a new life divine I have the fruit of the Spirit I'm abiding, abiding in the vine. chorus Abiding in the vine Abiding in the vine Love, Joy, Health, Peace, He has made them mine. I have prosperity, power, and victory, abiding, abiding in the vine
There is also a worship chorus by Kent Henry that was popular in the late 1970s and 80s, called "In Him. We Live." similarly based on the idea of abiding in Christ. The lyrics are:
In Him we live, and move and have our being. In Him we live, and move and have our being. Make a joyful noise, Sing unto the Lord. Tell Him of your love, Dance before Him Make a joyful noise, Sing unto the Lord, Tell Him of your love, Alleluia!!
Jesus said, in John 15:1 and :5, that He is the vine and we are the branches. Apart from Him we can do nothing. When the branch falls off the vine it loses its source of life sustaining substance. Though it may appear fresh and remain somewhat hearty for a while it will soon shrivel up and die lacking its vital substance from the vine. Even if it is in close proximity to the vine, but not attached, it still dies from lack of food. The sustenance can only flow to the branches that are in (connected to) the vine.
He further emphasized the need for direct connection to Him when He said, if you abide in me and my words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you. (John 15:7)
So, abiding, being connected, is about having the Word at the ready, full, and overflowing, available in our minds and in our hearts, anchored to the core of what we believe and do by faith, walking in the confidence and assurance that the Word of God is THE ONLY TRUTH. There is only one Jesus, and He alone is The Word that became flesh. He is THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE.
What a sense of confidence and peace that brings to the heart! We know in Whom we believe and are persuaded that He is able to keep us in Him even unto the Day of Judgment.
There is therefore now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death. [Romans 8:1-2]
To walk according the flesh is to follow after anything we give place to higher than the law of God. What takes precedent in your life? Anything we believe, and any action we take in accordance with all that opposes or is contrary to the will and Word of God are works of the flesh.
Anything that we value and submit to as being greater than God, or account to be truth apart from God is contrary to the Word of God and is, therefore, a lie. Being disconnected from the Vine, we lack the discernment to recognize the lie for what it is. So, we easily fall prey to the destroyer, the thief who comes only to steal, to kill and to destroy.
The best defense against the destructive and debilitating works of darkness is keeping in constant communion with God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not just insulation from the world. It is also our strongest offensive weapon against the evil schemes of wickedness in this present world. If we abide in the light as He is in the light darkness cannot overcome us.
"For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light." Ephesians 5:8
There is no neutral ground or spiritual "safe place" other than in the TRUTH. Some people think to deny Jesus and the devil makes them superior to both. These are those who make intellect their god. In their minds they consider themselves immune to any doctrines or laws that God or the devil espouses. But to deny God and to deny that Jesus is Lord is to walk in foolishness.
"The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one. Psalm 14:1-3
There are two kinds of wisdom. The wisdom from above and wisdom from the world. One leads to life, the other to death.
"But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." James 3:17
James accurately describes and directly addresses our modern culture.
James 3:13 - 4:10 "Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
James 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. James 3:13 - 4:10
In Jesus, the Truth, we have continual fellowship with the Father; being connected and abiding in Him who is the Vine, the Christ, and our Lord. In God our Father we have life and in Jesus Christ our Lord, we have life more abundantly.
Abiding in Him we have immediate and full access to all that He is and all that He has for us to enjoy.
"Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His righteousness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4
"If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you." John 15:7
Abiding is about time spent in the presence of someone or someplace or something. For us, in relation to the Father and Jesus, it is about all three. Time spent with them, in the Word, away from the noise and distractions of the world. Abiding in Jesus is about being still and knowing HE is God, listening attentively for the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us.
Does that mean we walk around all day with a Bible in one hand, reading it with one eye, and with the other hand and eye we do our work to earn wages and stay gainfully employed? Obviously, that is not practical. But seriously, how do we abide in the Lord, the Word in a down-to-earth, practical way, daily?
The simple answer is to being continually being filled with the Holy Spirit (praying in the Spirit) and by daily disciplines wherein we set aside sacred/holy time to be in the presence of the Lord before our day begins, even if it's only a few minutes, but that we do it consistently and exclusively, not multi-tasking, but being singularly focused on Him. Here are three sample, practical things we can all do daily.
1) set aside 15-20mins a day in the morning (before you begin other daily activity) to read the Word, pray for ourselves and others, and to listen quietly for God's Spirit to speak to us.
2) Periodically throughout the day stop all other activity and take one minute to thank the Lord for His wisdom to complete the tasks before you.
3) Give something of yourself, your resources, or your time to be a blessing to someone else (share God's love).
The most important message we have to bring to the world is God's love for them. We are held in the Vine by love. And we are reconnected to the Vine by the same love. The only way we lose, is if we reject that love and choose to deny it and Him.
There is something profoundly amazing about our calling as children of God, as disciples, believers, and followers of Jesus our Lord! As broken flawed, fragile, fumbling human beings we are still entrusted with a message so profound and so precious, we could never be worthy of the faith that has been given to us to extend that love to others.
Nevertheless, we are God's beloved and we can never and will never be taken out of His hands. But, to abide in Him is our choice. He has chosen us. Now we get the privilege of choosing Him, above all, in all, and before all things.
God's love for us will always outweigh his judgment of our sins, our faults, and failures. Therefore, motivated by love and with gratitude and humility for our blessings, let us choose to continually abide in Him and extend the same compassion, love, mercy, and grace that have been given to us, to others in His name