Green Thumb

I do not have a green thumb.

My parents were on vacation for a few days recently and asked me to care for their plants. Determined not to kill something that they consider to be precious, I dutifully went out daily and watered them. Sadly most of them were looking like they were goners by the fourth day and were only revived by the thankful transition back to their original caretakers.

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. | John 15:4

Do you ever feel like God is trying to get your attention? That’s how I felt all day yesterday. I couldn’t get away from the idea of “abiding in Christ.” It started with my morning devotion and ended with the portion I meditated on last night – John 15 – with several references to it sprinkled throughout the day.

In John 15, Jesus explains that He is the true vine and the Father is the vinedresser. The branches that do not bear fruit are taken away, and those that are fruitful are pruned so that they will bear even more fruit.

But what exactly does it mean to abide in Christ? It’s never been something I’ve considered or taken the time to define clearly. Dictionary.com defines the word abide this way: to remain; continue; stay, and this seems to fit what Christ is teaching in this passage. When we continue in our relationship with Him, our faith grows and we produce fruit. The fruit is evidence of our faith. It is evidence of our relationship with Him.

Is there evidence in your life of a relationship with Jesus Christ?

In John 15:10, we see what it looks like to abide in Christ:

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

It means that we keep His commandments. When we love God with all our hearts, keeping His commandment is something that we enjoy doing.

I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. | Psalm 119:14

When we abide in Christ’s love, we desire to spend time with Him in prayer. We spend time reading the Scriptures in order that we may understand His heart. We become passionate about the things that He is passionate about; our hearts break over the things that break His heart.

Today if you are a discouraged Christian thinking that you have to figure out a way to gather up the strength to pursue Christ, be encouraged by the fact that a branch doesn’t have to beg the vine for sustenance. It doesn’t need to tightly hold onto the vine so that it doesn’t get swept away. It just has to abide. When we place our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are from that moment on “in Christ.” We are held secure in a permanent relationship with Him and it is the position of all true believers.

If you abide in me, and my word abides in you, you will ask what your heart desires, and it shall be done for you. | John 15:7

When we are abiding in Christ, and His word is growing in our hearts, we will be stirred to pray for the things that He has in store for us.

Transformation will happen without us striving for change.

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