John 15 instructs us in the importance that we abide in Christ. While I was still in college, someone said, “To abide in Christ means to live in moment by moment conscious dependence upon Christ.” The definition rings true somehow in my heart with the context of the chapter. Jesus compares our relationship with Him to that of a branch and a vine. One is absolutely dependent upon the other for life. Jesus says, “Apart from me you can do absolutely nothing.”
Abiding in Christ is not learned reading a blog or a book. It is not discovered in a seminar or conveyed by a sermon. It is cultivated through life. Certainly it depends upon prayer just as our lungs require oxygen. It requires the nurture of God’s Word, just as a plant must draw nutrient from a soil. It is deliberate and conscious. It is cultivated. It is disciplined.
As the apostle Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” But separated from Him I wither and die. The Christian life is not one in which I imitate Jesus. It is one in which the very person of Christ (the Holy Spirit) reproduces the life of Christ in me. He lives through me, in a sense.
Waiting before God, as we are commanded in Acts 1:4, requires a watchful prayer, an intense wrestling in prayer. That watchful prayer issues in an abiding life in Christ. I dwell in Him. I consciously depend on Him. Living a fruitful Christian life is organic. It is not ritualistically following certain precepts.
The picture of a branch from a vine is one so intertwined that in reality we cannot distinguish between where the vine stops and the branch begins. But severed from the vine, the branch withers and dies. So true is this that Paul could write, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me . . .