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“Abide in Me”? What Does that Mean?
Once we move past identifying the characters in this teaching (Jesus is the vine, God the Father is the vinedresser, and we are the branches), we can clearly see the focus is on bearing fruit (more fruit, much fruit, and fruit that remains). But the key to having a relationship with the Lord that allows us to bear the fruit that brings glory to the Father (John 15:8), is being able to “abide” in Him, in the vine. In fact, we find that phrase repeated repeatedly in this amazing discourse. Consider the following:
“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.” (John 15:4)
“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” (John 15:6)
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:7)
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” (John 15:9)
“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.” (John 15:10)
So the concept of abiding is not something to be taken lightly. Obviously, it is a description of the relationship Jesus has with the Father, and the relationship all Three share in the Godhead. And the amazing thing is that He commands us, no, He invites us to abide in Him the way He also abides in His Father. What a wonderful privilege He offers each of us.
But let’s address the elephant in the room, the $64,000,000 question. What does “abide” in this passage really mean?
United in Heart, Mind, and Will
On a simple level, the word abide (ménō) means to “remain, dwell, live.” In John 15:11, the word is translated “remain” when it says “that My joy may remain (ménō) in you.” But the word has a much deeper meaning than that. In John’s writings, it conveys more with the mechanics of the relationship between one thing or person and another. Thus the context of (ménō) could be “remain in or with someone.” We see this in 1 John 2:19 where (ménō) is translated “continued with us.”
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us (ménō); but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. (1 John 2:19)
In John 15 (ménō) means “to be and remain united with Jesus, one with Him in heart, mind, and will, and to remain steadfast, unwavering in that relationship.” Now, that changes everything.
“Abide (remain united with Him in heart, mind, and will, to remain steadfast and unwavering in that relationship) in Me, and I (abide) in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides (remain united with Him in heart, mind, and will, to remain steadfast and unwavering in that relationship) in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide (remain united with Him in heart, mind, and will, to remain steadfast and unwavering in that relationship) in Me.” (John 15:4)
But it gets better. Next, He tells us how to bear fruit to bring the Father glory and to prove we are His disciples (John 15:8).
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who (what) abides (remain united with Him in heart, mind, and will, to remain steadfast and unwavering in that relationship) in Me, and I (abide) in him, (what) bears much fruit; (how) for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
As I shared in my last post, this is only the beginning. Join with us as we endeavor to grow closer to the Lord by becoming a fruitful branch of His vine, for the glory of the Vinedresser. Because at this time in our history, nothing else really matters.