Red wine grapes on old vine
“The key to the Christian life is to abide.” A certain haze surrounds this idea, because we don’t use that word abide in every-day conversations, so we’re unclear as to what it means. The fog thickens when the goal we aspire to sounds foreign to us.

Theologically speaking abide means, to experience unbroken fellowship with God, but lexically it simply means, remain.

At the point of your spiritual birth, you were connected to Christ—now stay there, remain, don’t disconnect. Do not let go. Do not walk away.

Jesus uses a metaphor of a vine and branches to illustrate a fruitful life. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man abides in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing” John 15:5.

A branch on the vine produces fruit because it draws its nourishment from the vine. If you cut off the branch, you’ve disconnected it from its life source. Not a complicated concept.

John 15 records three of Jesus’ commands to abide:

• Abide in Me, verses 4-6
• Abide in My words, verse 7
• Abide in My love, verse 9

To abide in Jesus’ words is not so much a separate command as it is the way to abide in Him. We stay connected to Jesus by staying in His word, drawing our life, energy and nourishment from the words he has given us. The stories and parables he gave us, his teachings, his promises and warnings—these feed our souls and produce fruit in our lives.

On another occasion Jesus said, “If you abide in My word then you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free” John 8:31-32. True disciples stay connected to Jesus’ words.

Jesus explains plainly what Abide in My love means. “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” John 15:9-10.

The same love that the Father has for Jesus, Jesus has for you, his disciple. This is such a grand concept that it sounds like blasphemy or heresy. This is why the Apostle Paul prays that we will know the depth and breadth of Christ’s love—a love that surpasses knowledge (Ephesians 3:18-19).

Abide in that intense, immense love—live it, breathe it, continue in it, remain in it, stay connected to it. Don’t ever let go of God’s love for you.

One of the huge benefits of memorizing God’s Word, passage-by-passage, and book-by-book, is that it keeps me connected to Jesus, connected to His Word, and connected to His love. I want to be that branch on the vine that fulfills its created purpose—bursting forth fruit.

I’d love to hear how memorizing God’s Word has helped you to stay connected to Jesus.

8 comments to Abide

  • Teresa

    So true! abiding in Christ is the answer! So glad I have the memorized word of God that abides in me!

  • Warren Culwell

    Great explanation! thanks.

  • Carmen Cole

    When I don’t abide with the Lord, I feel lost, like I’m floating, but when I take the time to abide with Him I feel secure and firmly planted.

  • Catherine

    Thank you Janet again for pointing us to abide in Jesus, His word and love. I started memorizing scriptures after listening to you early Jan. in ROH and ordering your book. We are still in January and so far I have memorized Psalms 1, Psalms 121, Psalms 100, and now am in Titus! Isn’t God good? What a delight it has been to me.
    On Sunday during worship time which I was leading, I said out Psalms 100, then leading prayers I prayed through with Psalms 1 scriptures. Psalms 1 happened to be our pastors sermon. What a delight to him, as he was getting a confirmation of that being God’s word for us. At the start of his sermon he said “Catherine prayed through Psalms 1, I don’t know what lead her, but that makes it clear that is the message God has for us; its a confirmation.” Praise God!

  • Chérie

    This post was a wonderful breakdown of the word , “ABIDE”, which can be so confusing. Without question, memorizing, will keep you “abiding”. Our world is ruled by “the prince of the air” as Paul told us in Ephesians. ….”in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. “(Eph 2:2 – NIV84)
    Everything demands our attention, and if we haven’t made a solid commitment to memorize, its much easier to get distracted and suddenly you are not abiding or in tune with God, but you are confused about what is wrong or right. 
    I passed by a Billboard this morning on the way home from the dentist. It was an advert promoting the LGBT movement, and in big, bold colorful letters at the top, was addressed to,…”PEOPLE OF FAITH”….. Nope not kidding. 
    Perfect example of the importance of abiding in Him to KNOW THE TRUTH, as well as to keep our faith strong. 
    Most believers forget that even our faith DOESN’T COME FROM OURSELVES! It is a gift from God and if we need more faith, we have to ask for it from Him — the Giver of all good things. 
    After I read this post, it reminded me of something a favorite pastor of mine in the DFW area says a lot. “Watch out for things that cause a ‘DRIFT’ in your walk…”(abiding). This will mean different things to different people. When you are abiding, the Holy Spirit will whisper to you what these things are. When you are truly abiding, you will take that whispered message seriously. Some things I know that cause drift for some people are so elementary, and not considered ungodly, and in and of themselves, nothing is inherently wrong with them, but because of a persons background—for them; it might cause that drift. A couple examples I have heard of:
    •reading the kind of news that is only about celebrities,
    •watching documentaries/shows about true life crime,
    •surfing the Internet a lot, when nothing constructive will come out of it. 
    If something causes a “drift” in your relationship with Jesus, then that drift will stifle your abiding with Him.

  • I so can relate to Carman’s comment, along with this post from you Janet. More nights than I care to remember I have awakened and felt that lost feeling. That feeling that all is not well. I can trace it every time to not abiding. What better way to abide than to memorize scripture, review it, repeat it, pray it. That is truly the way to stay fruitful. Thank you too for the reminder to abide in His love. We find ourselves unfaithful and run from Him when we should be remaining right there in His love that never leaves us. Even though I’ll never understand it, I am so very grateful for His love, and because of His love, His Word to light my path.