Abiding – What does it mean?

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
John 15:5

What is abiding? What does it mean to abide in Christ? Well, to be honest, I don’t think this is something we can answer in one blog post or something we can answer in one response. It is multilayered and multifaceted, but don’t let that fool you. It is not as complicated as it sounds. Well, it is no more complicated than we make it. My first series of blog posts will explore the idea of abiding and how that looks in our everyday, imperfect, 21st century, real life.

To begin with though, I thought I would give you the basics – if we can call it that. John 15 is probably the most well-known reference to abiding, probably because it focuses around the seventh and final “I am” statement referenced in the gospel of John. John 15:1 says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.” Here, Jesus explains he is the source of life and His Father – God – controls the life he shares, pruning the branches that bear fruit and cutting off any branches that do not. In verse five, he explains that we are the branches. In other words, we can only really live through Jesus. Branches cannot live apart from the vine, and branches cannot bear fruit without the vine.
So for the simplest explanation, Jesus should be our source of life. Humph… I know, if you are like me that just sounds like one of those abstract Sunday School answers that no one really knows how to do. Yep, I feel ya. I mean my source of life is food, water, oxygen. How am I supposed to live off of Jesus???
I know it is hard to get past the literal meaning of things, especially as we trudge through everyday life. I mean how many times have I thought, just tell me the answer. Just tell me what to do. But it’s not always that simple and in reality we should be grateful that it is not (but we will save that deep conversation for another day). As for today, Jesus wants us to realize, He is our source of LIFE – real, breath the fresh air, enjoy the moment, this is what I was made for – LIFE, not just what keeps us alive.
I am reminded of the story of the woman at the well when Jesus says he is the source of living water. The poor Samaritan woman had messed up one too many times on her own and she had looked for life in all the wrong places. Jesus wanted to show her that he was the source of that ultimate satisfaction. And he is also our source of ultimate satisfaction…
Now, let’s be real for a second. I have two children (and only two), one who is old enough to be heavily involved in sports. I am a middle school teacher. I am active in my church. I cherish my relationship with my husband and my family. So in other words, this idea of ultimate satisfaction can seem foreign most days. I feel a lot more like the hamster on the wheel who just lives under the illusion that he is making progress. Yes, many days I feel like I am going through the motions I have created for my life, but I am not really living my life. I do not really have the ultimate satisfaction that the Living Water, that the True Vine is offering. I am really no different than the woman at the well.

Can you relate to that?

If so, that is one of the main reasons I began this abiding journey. I wanted to know what it really felt like to find my life in Jesus. To have him as my true source of life. It is hard to figure out what that looks like in the chaos of all my other responsibilities, but I am working on that. Let’s work on that together. I hope you will continue on this journey with me as we explore what it looks like to abide in Christ in our daily lives and how that reaches out to so many more areas.

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