January Reflection – Getting ourselves ready (Abiding in Christ)
I believe that every year that God gives us on this earth is to be a year where we are as productive as we can be for His work and as pleasing as we can be for His glory.
What does God say to us? He does have plenty to say about how we can maximise every year He gives us to reach our God-given potential to be what we ought to be, do what we ought to do and become what we ought to become. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. Branches do not produce fruit, they bear fruit. As branches we have the plants ‘Genetic imprint’, causing us to produce fruit In keeping with the plant itself. If we keep drawing from the life-giving source, “ABIDING IN THE VINE”, we will bear fruit. Note that bearing fruit is a natural process. Fruit is the result of healthy growing. A Lack of fruit is not a sign of not trying hard enough, but a result of not being in touch with the vine. Abiding in Jesus first of all means having a life-giving connection to him. A branch is connected to the vine, and a vine to the branch. This is what theologians frequently describe as “union with Christ.” Notice that this connection, this union, is mutual. We abide in him and he abides in us. If there is no connection, there is no life, no fruit.
In Jeremiah 17:8 God’s promise is that as we walk uprightly, and feed on His word, we become firmly planted and nourished in Him, and we are fruitful in everything. It’s our roots that cause the fruit to grow in the time of drought. We need to learn to put down solid roots in times of blessings, so that they may sustain us when trouble and hardship come.
Abiding also implies dependence. This aspect of abiding, unlike connection, is not reciprocal. The branch is dependent on the vine, but the vine is not dependent on the branch. The branch derives its life and power from the vine. Without the vine, the branch is useless, lifeless, powerless. Sap flows from the vine to the branch, supplying it with water, minerals, and nutrients that make it grow. And believers receive the “sap” of Christ’s grace through our life-giving connection to him. We are completely dependent upon Jesus for everything that counts as spiritual fruit. Apart from him, we can do nothing !!!!
Abiding also involves continuance. In fact, “abide” (Greek, meno) means to remain, or stay, or continue. This shows us that another aspect of abiding in Jesus is remaining in Jesus. This simply means that we go on trusting, that we keep on depending, that we never stop believing. To abide in Jesus is to persevere in Jesus and his teaching. This is what Jesus is talking about in John 8:31-32, when he says, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Abiding in Christ gives us access to a life-giving, soul-thrilling, JOY-producing communion with God through Christ (1 John 1:3; John 15:11). Let us Live JOYFULLY!!!