A flourishing spiritual life is possible only by constantly depending on Christ. Jesus used the illustration of the vine to teach us how to accomplish this. I am the vine, you are the branches, said Jesus (John 15:5, NKJV). In the Old Testament, Israel was depicted as a vine that the Lord had planted (Isa. 5:1-7; Ps. 80:8-9; Jer. 2:21), but Jesus presents Himself as the true vine (John 15:1) and urges His followers to be united with Him just as the branches abide in the vine.
What do these texts teach us about abiding continually in Christ? See John 15:4-10.
A branch recently separated from the vine may appear alive for a while, but it will surely wither and die because it has been cut off from the source of life. By the same token, we can receive life only through our connection with Christ. But in order to be effective, this union must be maintained. Devotional time in the morning is essential, but our communion with the Lord has to continue throughout the day. Abiding in Christ means seeking Him constantly, asking for His guidance, praying for His strength to obey His will, and begging for His love to fill us.
One of the most deceitful traps is to try to live the Christian life independently from the Lord. Without Me you can do nothing (John 15:5, NKJV). Without Him we cannot resist even one temptation, overcome one sin, or develop a character in His likeness. The new spiritual life can grow only by means of an uninterrupted communion with Christ.
By reading the Word and meditating on it, we are nourished and strengthened. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life, said Jesus (John 6:63, NKJV). Treasured in our hearts and minds, these words will inspire our prayers in order to keep us in contact with the Lord. Though it’s easy to be distracted by the cares of this world (Mark 4:19, NKJV), we must make a concentrated effort to abide in Jesus.
What are the greatest obstacles that prevent you from abiding constantly in Christ? What steps can you take in order to remove or overcome them?