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What does it mean to abide in Christ? Let’s study this verse and figure out how to practically apply it to your life.
There are exceptionally simple and easy to apply verses in the Bible.
Directives like honor your parents, love your neighbors, don’t worship idols, don’t lie…they don’t really require explanations to help you apply them to your life.
But what about the call to abide in Christ?
I remember being just a tad confused by how to actually do this for years, until I studied it…and discovered just how beautiful it is.
First, let’s turn to those verses in the Word:
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.John 15:4-8, ESV
What does it mean to abide in Christ?
Jesus Himself answers this question in John 15 (verses 1-11).
He tells His disciples that to abide in Him, they must obey the Father’s commands. It is in doing God’s will and walking in obedience to Him that we are able to abide in His love.
What are His commands?
Jesus said in Matthew 22:34-40 that the two greatest commandments are to love the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
These two commandments sum up all the laws of the Old Testament.
It is in loving God and loving others that we abide in Him.
Why is this important?
Without abiding in Christ and His love, we are unable to bear fruit.
Branches separated from the True Vine and walking in disobedience are dead and heading for destruction. But those who are connected to the Vine are alive and bear good fruit.
As believers, our lives should be producing good fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).
In other words, the way we live ought to reflect the character of the One we love and worship.
Benefits of abiding in the Lord
Jesus tells us that the result of abiding in Him is that we will have life in Him.
This is the most significant benefit because instead of being tossed out as worthless branches, we are included in the family of God and will enjoy eternity with Him.
Another benefit is that when we abide in Him, His Spirit works in us to sanctify our hearts and souls, making us more like Christ in the outworking of His transforming power in us.
This includes the outflow of the Fruit of the Spirit as we begin to bear His good fruit rather than the tasteless fruit of the world. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us that this fruit bears the qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
In addition to having life in Christ and the subsequent fruit of His Spirit in our lives, we will also experience joy when we abide in Him.
Just as Jesus’ joy is made full when we abide in Him and in turn, we experience joy in serving Him faithfully.
How to abide in Christ
Obedience to God is the key. Simple obedience.
The problem is that we are fallen creatures, and as such, we find it impossible to be completely obedient.
Though we may try our hardest to walk in obedience to the Lord, the reality is that we simply cannot do so fully. Our selfish human nature always gets in the way and before we know it, we have slipped again.
It is only by God’s grace that we are given the gift of life in Christ, despite our constant failures to measure up to His standards of righteousness.
But, there are some things we can do to cultivate obedient hearts within us. We do this by spending time in God’s Word, meditating on His Truth and His commands.
We also accomplish this through worshipping the Lord, conversing with him in prayer, and even fellowshipping with other believers who can encourage and challenge us in the faith.
It is learning who God is and how He desires us to live that our minds are trained to think like Him, resulting in our actions becoming more like His.
And it is the accountability of fellow believers that keeps us focused on Christ.
Abiding in Christ as a woman of God today
So how do you practically apply all of this to your life right now, today?
First, you have to be in the Word. You need to be reading the Bible.
Then, you need to take your thoughts captive and focus your thoughts on Him with your prayer and thoughts.
When you do this, when you get to know Him better and better by reading the Word and by thinking about what you learn and through prayer, you’ll love Him more.
And the more you love Him, the more you will become like Him and bear the fruit of that relationship with Him.
That is what abiding in Christ is.