Saturday, December 11, 2010

Abiding in Christ

Recently, for my Spiritual formation class I had to discuss what it means to Abide in Christ so here goes....
There is much to say about abiding in Christ. Many “Christians” have no true idea of what that means, often they think to abide in Christ is being a good Samaritan or being kind to your enemies, or being positive in the face of adversity, yet it is so much more than that. It is truly being connected to Christ in the spirit. It is learning how God’s way become our ways and how God’s thoughts become our thoughts. It is something as simple as understanding that through purposeful time spent with God in communion, prayer, fasting and the likes of it we actually inherit His mind and His personality. John 15 speaks of a connection that is deeper than we can get by spending time once a month or even once a week with Him. To Abide in Christ is to allow and trust Him to prune us, however painful that may be, God will cut off the components of our life that do not bear fruit any longer. Ultimately, since He knows best it will turn out as a beautiful change for the better in our character. Abiding in Christ means that we will bear fruit, such as the fruits of the spirit. Although, we will not achieve perfection the goal is to reflect a life that mirrors that of Christ. As we allow that transformation to happen in and through us, God is glorified and the world will see a picture of who Christ is. The most important component is the Holy Spirit and without His active part in our lives then we are hopeless because He is the one that Christ promised to leave here on Earth with us. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit we learn the nature of God. To abide in Christ is to abide in love.

Some thoughts by Paul N. Vincent.
I believe John 15 is one of the most important passages in the New Testament about abiding in Christ and being Fruitful. Whenever I read or meditate on the passage, it always reminds me of the great importance that our Lord places on our Fruitfulness as his disciples. I’ve categorized the passage and my understanding of it under the following sub headings:
The Source – Christ: (vs. 1) - “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” The ultimate source of our Fruitfulness is Christ himself. Our Abiding in Him makes our being fruitful possible. He and the Father becomes our source and we cannot even try to abide or be fruitful without total dependence upon him.
The Requirement – Bear Fruit: (vs. 2b) – “…Every branch that does bear fruit ...” I believe the greatest desire of Christ is to see us show some evidence or make some efforts to bear fruits – no matter how small! Here he is not looking for quantity – he just wants to see us make some efforts to bring forth fruits – and once that happens; he says he’ll help us bring forth even more fruit! So his requirement is for us to bear fruits!
The Process – Pruning for Fruitfulness (vs. 2b) “…He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” The process to help us to bear more fruits once we have started bearing fruits is the pruning process. Here, the Master Prunes us, takes away any and every thing that stands in the way and that prevents us from bearing much fruit. And after his pruning, we then begin to bring forth fruits in much greater quantity!
The Condition – Abide In Christ (vs. 4) “Abide in me, and I will abide 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.” The only condition that the Master gives, whereby we can become or remain fruit bears, is by remaining or abiding in him. This condition means that we need to continually Abide in Him if we as the branch of the vine will continue to bear fruit. As long as we meet this condition, we can be sure that our fruits will keep blossoming!
The Consequences – Punishment for Unfruitfulness (vs. 2a, 6b) “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit…he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” It’s quite clear that there is a serious consequence and punishment for anyone who doesn’t bear fruit and who by extension doesn’t remain in the vine. Jesus himself says they will be cut off from the vine (from Him) – for not bearing fruits. This tells me that we should take the issue of fruit bearing more seriously because the Master Jesus himself takes it that serious!

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