Jun 12 2013

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What Does It Mean to Abide In Christ?

Did you ever hear the terms “abiding in Christ” or “abiding in the Vine?”  Maybe you’ve wondered what that means.  Here’s an explanation that should help.


Abide in Him

by Shawn Harrison

I love John 15. To me, it’s one of the most personal chapters of scripture between Jesus and His followers. His words of red fill the whole chapter, inviting us into an intimate relationship with the Trinity. The picture Jesus paints in John 15 is that of a vine with multiple branches jetting forth, bearing fruit. Jesus says that He is this vine and we are the branches that bear fruit for the Father, who is the vine dresser. In this supernatural connection, Christ calls us to bear fruit that shows forth the glory and character of God. Jesus also states that once in awhile, the Father will prune a branch – cut away things – in order for more growth to occur in the branch and fruit.

Weaved in and out of this chapter is the word, abide. “Abide in Me,” “abide in Us,” “abide in the vine,” “abide in My love,” Jesus says. From verse 1 to 17, the word abide is used 11 times by Christ when talking to His followers (verse 4 has the most uses, 3 … my geeky side shows at times).

Abide means, to wait for; to endure without yielding; to accept without objection; to remain stable or fixed in a state. The word describes a position of one thing in reference to how close and how stable it is from the main source. If we are connected to the source, we are abiding; if we are not connected, we are not abiding. Simple right? Transfer these thoughts into your relationship with Christ. Is there a connection?

Position over Performance

I want to insert an important truth here, abiding in Christ is about position and not performance. God the Father isn’t after a stage performance from us to gain approval to be near Him. Rather, He calls us to be near because He has made us His children through the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus (AMEN). When we come to the cross, we are immediately connected to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Out of this connection, then, our spiritual self wants to stay, but our worldly self wants to leave. Enter in the daily fight to stay connected to God – to keep abiding in Him.

Paul says,”be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,” “for to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God,” therefore, “if God is for us, who can be against us” (2 Timothy 2:1, 1 Timothy 4:10, Romans 8:31). The only one stopping us from abiding in Christ, is us. We have the strength and presence of the living God on our side in us. More so, we are covered by the same love God poured upon Jesus, as John 15:9 says, “As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love.”

With Him, we are unstoppable; without Him, we lose every time.

Why would we ever want to forgo the direct connection we have to God our Father? Why forgo His love and His strength for any substitute? All of God is ours, given freely through Christ. There is no way to earn our position in Him. We simply continue to abide. And this is God’s will for us, as His disciples.

I scribbled this in my journal the other day concerning this passage: “Abiding in Christ produces within us the fruit of Christ, which is used to accomplish the Father’s will, bringing about His Glory.” Those who follow Christ, who are His disciples, strive to live this out; however, not in their own strength but in the strength of Him who indwells them.

the Fruit of Christ

What is this fruit we are called to bear?

The Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:21-23).

The Fruit of Transformation (Romans 12 and Colossians 3).

The Fruit of Unification as One Body (Ephesians 2-4).

The Fruit of Discipleship (Matthew 5-7, 28:18-20; Isaiah 61:1-2).

The Fruit of Love (1 Corinthians 13).

The Fruit of Servanthood (John 13:1-20).

I’m sure there are other “fruits” in scripture we are called to bear, but this is a great start. Obviously, it would take our entire life to perfect these fruits, and God knows this. However, He still calls us to be obedient in connecting (abiding) with Him, so that through Him, you can bear forth His fruit. We are simply the vessel; He is the contents. Therefore, as we abide in Christ, our lives should be forever changed. There should be a stark difference between who we were before Christ, and who we are with Christ.


How close are you to Christ?

Do you accept Him without objection?

What things keep you from being fixed or stable in Christ?

Which fruit of Christ is God calling you to work on right now, in your life and relationships?

Shawn Harrison is a pastor, author, and speaker. See his book below.  He blogs at six11.wordpress.com, a ministry to the Church & Gay community. He lives in Ohio, with his wife and three kids.

I had the pleasure of getting to know Shawn as he ministered to senior high students at a Christian camp where I worked.  He is a man with a passion for bringing people to Christ and for discipling others.




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