What does it mean to abide in Christ?
Maybe you’ve heard that term before. But we often gloss over it because the word “abide” is a little bit old-fashioned. We don’t use it in many other situations, so most simply don’t know what it means or how it applies to their life.
But this passage of Scripture has some incredible truth for us today. The teaching of abide in the Bible is one that we shouldn’t ignore. It has the power to change our life and faith.
In this blog post we are going to look at the incredible truth of the John 15:4 meaning and how to abide in Christ.
Abide In The Bible
The word abide in the Bible only appears a few times in the New Testament (John 15:4, 1 John 2:28). However, the concept of abiding is found throughout the Bible.
The definition of abide is to remain, reside, or await for. The Bible continually tells us that followers of Jesus are to remain in Christ, walk with him, and wait for him. Though the word abide isn’t always used, the concept of abiding is found throughout the Bible. (Galatians 2:20, Colossians 2:6, Romans 8:1, Hebrews 3:6)
To help us better understand what it means to abide in the Bible we are going to look at the most famous passage that talks about this.
John 15:4 Meaning
Abide in me, and I in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. John 15:4
In John 15 Jesus gives one of his most vivid and powerful illustrations about our relationship with him. In this passage Jesus gives an illustration of a vine and branches. No branch can produce fruit if it’s not connected to the vine. If a branch becomes detached it will wither and die.
Similarly, Jesus tells his followers the same is true for them. Followers of Jesus are the branches and God is the vine. If they detach from him, the source of life, they will not produce fruit.
To learn more about the John 15:4 meaning check out this incredible resource: Dr Tom Constable’s Bible Notes On John 15
What Does It Mean To Abide In Christ?
The temptation for most of us is to go at life solo. We place the weight of life on our own shoulders. We think it’s our responsibility to produce something of value in our life. But in John 15:5 Jesus gives a stark warning against doing so, “apart from me you can do nothing.”
Abiding in Christ means we recognize that it’s only through God that we can produce fruit. It means that we fully attached ourselves to him and we rely on him to give us what we need.
Abiding isn’t a feeling or even a belief. It’s an action, it’s what we do. Too often we distill Christianity into a set of beliefs. But the invitation that Jesus is extending is a relationship that requires action. We must stay connected to him.
How To Abide In Jesus
Let’s end by looking at how to abide in Jesus. I want to give you a few practical ways that you can apply this concept to your life.
1. Connect With God
Think back to the illustration of John 15 of the branches and the vine. The branches connect to the vine. This is a picture of what Jesus is inviting you into.
This connection is often referred to as a union with Christ. Notice that this connection is mutual, meaning both sides have to agree to it. Jesus has extended the invitation to you, now it’s your turn to accept it.
As in any relationship, connection is important. If you never connect with your spouse or a close friend that relationship with wither and die. The same is true in our relationship with God. If you never spend any time with him that connection will fall apart.
Connecting with God isn’t a one time event, it’s something we must do regularly.
2. Rely On God
Abiding in Christ implies dependence on him. Remember the illustration of the John 15:4 meaning; a branch relies, or depends on, the vine. Apart from the vine the branch will not be able to produce fruit and will eventually die.
Similarly, we are to rely on God. It’s through this dependance that we are sustained. And it’s the only way we can produce anything of lasting value. Apart from God we can do nothing.
In Matthew 11 there’s a similar teaching that Jesus gives where he invites us to be yoked with him. This is a picture of what it means to rely on God. When we do so, he helps us carry the heavy burdens of life. The result? Our burdens are light and we can find rest.
So, rely on and abide in Jesus.
3. Stay By God
The topic of abide in the Bible carries with it this idea of continuance, staying with God. In fact the Greek word for Abide, meno, means to remain.
In other words, abiding isn’t something you do once and then you are done. Rather it’s something we do daily. We must stay by God, continue to depend on him.
The temptation for many Christians is to connect with God for a time. But as life gets busy, things come up, other opportunities come, they disconnect and go their separate ways. I see this all the time. And the result? It’s never good in the long run.
Just a like a vine that decides to disconnect from its source of life, a follower of Jesus who disconnects from God will stop producing fruit in their life. For a time it might seem alright, but eventually they will start to suffer the consequences for their decisions.
Abiding in Christ means that we stay connected with God.
Closing Thoughts On The John 15:4 Meaning
So, what does it mean to abide in Christ? It means to connect with God, rely on God, and stay by God. That’s what the John 15:4 meaning teaches us. And it’s a lesson we should’t ignore.
The reality is this is how Christians grow in their faith. Actually, it’s the ONLY way. It’s the only way to find the abundant life that Jesus promised us in John 10:10. All the other paths we think will deliver true joy ultimately rob us.
It’s only through abiding in Christ that a follow of Jesus can produce fruit and find what they are truly longing for.
Stay connect to the source of life.