What does it mean to remain? According to the dictionary, the definition of this term (which is sometimes translated abide) is to “stay in the place that one has been occupying.” In other words, to make yourself at home in a dwelling place; to settle down there and not be in a hurry to leave. In John 15, Jesus uses this word over and over again to drive home a point — that our best life comes from remaining in His presence.
To expound further on this concept, the Lord uses a familiar image from nature — a vine and a branch. By design, branches abide in the vine from which they grow. If by some chance they are cut down, disconnected, or broken off, they no longer flourish and can’t sustain life. When, however, branches are securely fastened to their vine, they receive nourishment that ultimately brings a harvest. It’s important to notice the order here and to realize that fruit is a product of abiding in the vine. If there is no vine, the branch is dead and there is no harvest. Yet how many of us as Christians get it wrong?
Friend, you cannot bear fruit apart from your Vine, so I plead with you to stop trying to work your way to Him in an attempt to earn engraftment into His love. Without Jesus, you dry up, become a lonely stick, and lose your potential to produce crops. In order for anything good to spring forth from your life, you must be rooted and established in the love of God — it cannot be the other way around. No matter what you are going through, cling to the Vine. In the midst of depression, anxiety, and temptation, press into Him even harder and draw from the well of His life and nourishment. When you do this, the fruit of your faith will blossom in season and you will bless others with your harvest. Isn’t that great news?