It matters a great deal which vine a branch clings to, for out of that vine flows the branch’s source of life. –Notebook of a viticulturist
For the next few posts I want to explore the vivid image that Jesus gave us of His Kingdom Vineyard.
Specifically, I want to dive into this business of “…abiding in the One Vine that matters the most–Jesus Christ.”
What does that really mean?
And, what does that look like?
How do I know if I am, abiding in Christ?
Abide in Me, and I will abide in you. A branch cannot bear fruit if it is disconnected from the vine, and neither will you if you are not connected to Me. John 15:4 The Voice
I have to confess to you, I read these Bible verses about “abiding” for years without really understanding or being sure of what “Kingdom abiding” actually looked like.
And by that I mean, I knew I was supposed to ABIDE, but in my heart?
I just wasn’t sure I was doing it correctly!
You see, there is an amazing promise that is attached to our abiding.
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. John 15:7 KJV
I want the kind of “asking” that gets results like this, yes?
There is a great difference…
A huge difference actually, between the world’s definition of influence, versus the Bible’s definition of real kingdom-power.
(They are NOT the same thing!)
Take the scripture’s illustration about the power of Peter’s shadow:
The apostles performed many signs, wonders, and miracles among the people. And the believers were wonderfully united as they met regularly in the temple courts in the area known as Solomon’s Porch. No one dared harm them, for everyone held them in high regard.
Continually more and more people believed in the Lord and were added to their number—great crowds of both men and women. In fact, when people knew Peter was going to walk by, they carried the sick out to the streets and laid them down on cots and mats, knowing the incredible power emanating from him would overshadow them and heal them. Great numbers of people swarmed into Jerusalem from the nearby villages. They brought with them the sick and those troubled by demons—and everyone was healed! Acts 5:12-16 NLT
Wouldn’t you like to possess power like that?
(I know I would!)
Fruitfulness, power, and surrender
“Christ Jesus said: “I am the Vine, ye are the branches.” In other words: “I, the living One who have so completely given myself to you, am the Vine. You cannot trust me too much. I am the Almighty Worker, full of a divine life and power.” You are the branches of the Lord Jesus Christ. If there is in your heart the consciousness that you are not a strong, healthy, fruit-bearing branch, not closely linked with Jesus, not living in Him as you should be—then listen to Him say: “I am the Vine, I will receive you, I will draw you to myself, I will bless you, I will strengthen you, I will fill you with my Spirit. I, the Vine, have taken you to be my branches, I have given myself utterly to you; children, give yourselves utterly to me. I have surrendered myself as God absolutely to you; I became man and died for you that I might be entirely yours. Come and surrender yourselves entirely to be mine.” ― Andrew Murray, Absolute Surrender
I believe our first step, to walking out this power-packed abiding in Christ, is simply this: absolute surrender.
But, “How can I possibly DO this?”
Seriously, how do I pull this off?
I believe our answer is back there in the beginning of this post–I must cling to Him–because, I know from experience, my flesh will fight me!
- I crave The Father’s loving intervention.
- I depend on Christ’s continual intercession.
- And, I desperately need, the manifesting power of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling.
So, in the coming weeks, let’s take a closer peek at all three of these vital elements–so we may be encouraged that our Triune God is our present help!
“The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I came to give life with joy and abundance.”
John 10:10 The Voice
I’ll close with this hopeful benediction from our “abiding mentor” Andrew Murray:
“However strong the branch becomes, however far away it reaches round the home, out of sight of the vine, all its beauty and all its fruitfulness ever depend upon that one point of contact where it grows out of the vine.
So be it with us too.”