Abide in me, and I in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine;
no more can ye except ye abide in me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches:
He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit:
without me ye can do nothing.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered;
and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
To be fruitful, we must "abide in the Vine" - in vital union with the true vine,
allowing nothing to come between us and Him.
"Without me," said Jesus, "ye can do nothing."
The absoluteness and finality of the statement is staggering.
Not "very little," but "nothing."
Cut off from the source of the life-giving sap, we wither and die.
Fruit is impossible when contact is broken.
Such a categorical statement should cause us to stop and ask ourselves
whether we are really abiding and bearing fruit,
or heading for the rubbish heap.
For a maximum yield, the branches of the vine need heavy pruning -
heavier than most other trees.
Unless it is severely cut back, the fruit will be sparse and poor.
So God prunes the lives of His children, cuts back the rank growth of the self-life,
not because He delights to see them suffer,
but that the lives might be increasingly fruitful.
He desires to see His children growing in spiritual maturity.
There is to be a progression - "fruit, more fruit, much fruit."
It is the branch that bears fruit.
That feels the knife,
To prune is for larger growth
And fuller life.
~ Annie Johnson Flint ~
In the process of bringing salvation to the hearts of men, God is ever first.
By His Spirit He invades the heart of the sinner.
Thus the sinner who has now become a saint has received the power to abide in Christ.
The words "abide in me," do not constitute a condition which man must fulfill
in his own power before Christ will do His part.
Far from it.
It is sovereign grace from start to finish,
but the responsibility of abiding in Christ is placed squarely upon man's shoulders,
exactly where it belongs!
~ William Hendriksen ~
Have a blessed Lord's Day!