Once my pastor and his wife gave all the single ladies in church flowers on Valentine’s Day. Those roses turned a dreary day into an array of color and joy. I put the flowers into a vase full of water and dumped in the plant food that came with them. The first few days the petals bloomed bright and filled the room with their sweet aroma. However, by the end of the week the roses started to droop and within two weeks they were dead.
Even though I had provided water and food to nourish the flowers, they had been cut off from the rose bush. They couldn’t stay alive because the source of life was temporary and insufficient to sustain the buds.
The same way the roses needed to stay connected to the vine to survive, we must abide in Jesus to thrive. Jesus said in John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (NKJV). Jesus is the vine that gives the nutrients we need for our whole lives. We may think that we just receive spiritual food from Jesus, but if we are spiritually undernourished, it will hurt the other areas of our lives. To stay plugged into the source of all live, we must abide in Christ.
The concept of abiding goes beyond taking a week vacation at a hotel. When we remain in God’s Word, we made it our home where we spend all of our time, energy, and efforts. Knowing that we receive the truths we need to flourish drives us to seek out Scriptures for direction in the way to go. When we reside in Christ, we will bear much fruit.
Without Christ, we will be fruitless. My flowers didn’t put themselves in water or add the flower food. I supplied that for them. We cannot muster own strength. Jesus says apart from Him, we can do nothing. That’s right – nothing. Humbling yes, but also encouraging because it means that we aren’t hopeless. God didn’t leave us without a means to fill our needs. He is the vine. We are to stay in Him. John 15:4 says, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (NKJV).
So, what does it look like to abide in Christ? It means not just skimming Scriptures every day to check a box that you read your Bible. Instead, we must feast on God’s Word and meditate on how to apply it to our lives. We ask the Holy Spirit to show us timeless truths in the verses we read. Then He gives us guidance and courage to act on what the Word has directed us to do. Sometimes, obedience is costly or difficult, but it is always the best course of action.
Another method of abiding in Christ is prayer. Personally, I can rattle off my wish list to God and say Amen before I’ve listened to any of God’s thoughts about my desires. I am learning to apply Psalm 37:4, realizing that delighting myself in the Lord is loving the things He loves. To know God’s heart, I must read His Word and listen for His voice. Then instead of having a heart full of my own whims, I can ask for God’s desires to fill me. My delights with align with God’s when I listen to His heartbeat through His Word and prayer.
My prayer is that instead of being cut off from the vine, we may stay rooted deeply in God’s Word and listen to Him through personal prayer time. May we all seek sound advice from fellow believers to help us grow deeper in Christ. Then our lives will bear not only some fruit, but after careful pruning from the Father (John 15:1), we will bear more fruit and eventually much fruit. May our fruit basket glorify the Lord so that our lives and those around us may experience the bountiful and beautiful love of God as abide in the vine of Christ.
Joanna Eccles has led Bible studies for over twenty years and completed the year-long C. S. Lewis Fellows Program. She is passionate about discipleship and helping people grow in Christ. Joanna enjoys coffee and reading, and currently lives in Florida.