Remain in Me
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. NIV
When we come to Christ in salvation, something supernatural happens – we are in Christ and He is in us! And His promise is that He will always remain in us: “I will not leave you as orphans,” He said. That’s His commitment to us but we too have a commitment to keep – to remain in Him.
“If a man remains in me….” Intrinsic in this is Christ’s warning to us that if we are not careful, we may drift away and then find ourselves unfruitful. Jesus used the analogy of the relationship between the branch and the vine. It is only when the branch is attached to the vine that it lives, and produces fruit. The life of the vine needs to flow through the branches – it brings nourishment and life to the branches. Cut off from the vine, it is only a matter of time before the branch dries up and withers. Apart from the vine, the branch has no hope of surviving.
And that is what happens to Christians who are not firmly rooted in Christ – they wither and dry up, they become unfruitful, they become a pale shadow of what they are meant to be. But look at what Jesus says about those who remain in Him – they shall ask whatever they wish and it will be given them! What an incredible promise! Our prayer life would be incredibly rewarding, incredibly powerful. Our ability to touch and influence those around us with the message of the Gospel would be profound. Our ability to take hold of all that God has purposed for our lives would become a daily reality. All that and so much more because Christ is in us and we are in Him. I am convinced that most Christians have not achieved even a fraction of the fruitfulness that God has intended for us because we have not remained in Him to the extent that we ought to.
What does it mean to remain in Him? That word “remains” means to be deeply rooted, to stay connected, to keep the vitality and intensity of a relationship. It’s not a one time thing but a continuous abiding, an attitude of the heart towards God, a daily holding on to Him. It is a continuous choice we make to stay rooted in Christ. It is not something passive but something dynamic and active. It means to be continually one with Him: His thoughts become our thoughts, His Word becomes our word, His heart becomes our heart.
Is that possible? Yes, to the degree that we spend time with Him in prayer and fellowship, take time to study His Word, walk in obedience to Him, allow the life of Christ to infuse us in every way. It’s not complicated but it does require wholehearted commitment and devotion to Jesus. It does require that we make Him our main agenda each day.