“Abiding” is really big in successful discipleship? So what does it mean to “abide?”

Abiding in the vine
“Abiding” is a big word – an important word – in following Jesus as His disciple!
 
Here it is right out of the mouth of Jesus, according to Apostle John (notice how the word “abide” is emphasized)…
 
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 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… 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. 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! 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. If you ABIDE in me, and my words ABIDE in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. ABIDE in my love. 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. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (From John 15:1–11 ESV)
 
So what does it mean to “abide?”
 
It’s not being connected artificially – as with “Scotch tape” or a paper clip! It’s not simply a periodic connection – like having a street address you call “home” but going here and there but eventually returning “home!” It’s not even being fastened more permanently, but attached like a foreign object – as you would fasten something with a bolt or screw.
 
The passage makes it clear, “abiding” is an organic connection! As a “branch” to life-giving, life-sustaining “vine!” The connection is not intermittent – it is intimate! It is not casual – it is continual and critical! It is not simply voluntary – it is vital! Jesus declared, “apart from me you can do NOTHING!” It’s not simply a matter of convenience – the purpose is bearing fruit (the result of His life at work in and through us)! Our personal satisfaction is not the goal – that is why there is “pruning” so that we bear “more fruit” – “much fruit!” Ultimately “our joy is FULL” in this relationship and our prayers are answered (check out verses 7, 16-17), but it is all the outgrowth of “abiding” in Him!
 
Gotta tell you… It’s my life goal! When I was “born again” my spiritual DNA was changed! I became a child of God – I became part of “the vine!” And even if I was “grafted into” the vine (check out Romans 11:17-24) – His life is my hope, His Spirit is my life-energy, and bearing His “fruit” is my purpose! “Abiding” is where it’s at! … Listen, I am completely committed to “abiding in the vine – in Him!”

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