“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”– John 15:5
As we discussed yesterday, God is the one who brings about spiritual fruit in our lives; our role is to abide in Christ. A branch unattached to the vine is unable to bear fruit. Likewise, apart from Christ, we cannot become more like Him.
To abide in Christ means to stay close to Him or to dwell with Him. This can take various forms: spending time in prayer and Bible study, serving in your local church, living a life of obedience to Christ’s commands, and sharing your faith with others, to name a few. When we abide in Christ, our lives are sure to reflect Him.
Rightfully understanding our role to abide takes all of the pressure off of us! Often, people think we have to earn God’s favor or salvation: if we are good, God will accept us. Jesus reverses the order! Instead, we are good because He has accepted us. The more we spend time with Jesus, the more we begin to look like Him. Fruit-bearing is a byproduct of our relationship with God.
What happens in our lives when we abide in Christ? First, our prayer lives are transformed. We begin to pray more God-centered prayers. Second, our love for God and neighbor increases. From this, we see people coming to Christ through our witness and ministry. We know God more, and therefore we love our neighbors more. Third, God deepens our joy. We see beyond our present trials and suffering and look to eternity. Last but not least, when we abide in Christ, God is glorified.
The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus make it possible for us to abide in Him. God’s role is to bring about spiritual fruit; our role is simply to remain in Him. Take some time today to consider your part in fruit-bearing. Do you find yourself attempting to take God’s role? Are you trying to earn his favor by doing good things? If so, remember the Gospel. You cannot save yourself; only God is capable of redeeming you.
Think about different ways to abide in Christ. Are you spending time in prayer and Bible study? Are you living a life of worship and obedience? How are you loving God and neighbor? When we abide in Christ and trust Him, God will bring about great fruit in our lives.