John 15:5 – He who abides in me and I in him bears much fruit.
We have often heard people say, “Nobody ever gave me a single thing. I did this all myself.” Isn’t that blasphemy? I don’t say this to downplay people and their accomplishments but isn’t it even more gratifying to know that the gifts and achievements in life are a sign of His presence, His touch in our life? He that abides in me and I in him, bears much fruit, (***for without me you can do nothing.***) Shouldn’t that make us think twice before using those two four-letter words “self-made!” Not a single being is self-made. There are only two kinds of beings: Uncreated: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Created: The whole universe! Nobody succeeds in isolation. Our success always comes because of God and because someone in our life helped us.
Let us look at the various ways of abiding in Christ . St. Paul talks about grafting. When a branch is dying it is stuck into a hole in the living tree and tied. It then takes life from the tree and begins to bear fruit. In baptism you and I were taken out of a dying vine and grafted on to Christ. We are called to remain in Him, stick to Him so fruit will come out of our life.
Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son and he was ready right away. There were no discussions or questions. Because Abraham remained in God, his faith grew and he was blessed. Lets look at the life of St. Peter on the other hand. One moment he is ready to cut off the ear of the high priest’s slave ,and the next moment as Jesus moves away he denies Christ before a servant girl. When he remained, he was ready to fight the world for Jesus. When he keeps his distance from Jesus, he seems to not know who the Lord is. David: when he remained in God, wrote the psalms, fought the lions, kills Goliath. When he stopped to remain in God, he sinned.
Abide in him through prayer. Moses when fighting the Amalachites, got 2 people to support his hands to keep it lifted up and that’s when the victory took place. As long as we are in the form of prayer we will be victorious. Jesus told the disciples “remain with me in prayer” They got tired, they slept, and before they knew it, Jesus was gone, taken away. When we have not abided in prayer, we will suddenly feel like life’s blessings are taken away. Even if we have something good coming our way, if we are not empowered with prayer, we won’t know what is God’s call.
Abide in the old path. Jeremiah 6:16 says ask for the old paths. The ways that the church has taught us. Now a days people whine about the church prayers that last for 2 hours.. The martyrs, the old fathers who followed the ways of Christ himself were all simple men with meagre education. But on their day of trial they were not shaken. Because all they knew and believed in was the old path, the liturgy, the Eucharist, the spiritual life. David didn’t follow the old path. The bible says, “as was custom in the spring for kings to go out to war. David didn’t follow the custom. David stayed back from war one day, found himself of the roof, looked below found Bethsheba and David was lost.
Abide in my word. We often have a lot of distorted voices in our mind that we don’t know what is gods will for us. When we are familiar with his voice and word, we can quickly recognise a word that does not come from God.
Abide in the body. People tend to stray from church for the pettiest of reasons. When we sever ourselves from the church we wither away. Jesus says, “that they may be one as we are one.” Let us fight to keep unity, in our homes, in our churches. The church is noah’s ark. Yeah there are a lot of stinky animals in the ark but we are safe in the ark. If we go outside the flood of the world will take us away.
Abide in his love. Believe and have faith in the path he has chosen for us. When St. Polycarp was about to be martyred, the soldiers felt bad and said ‘come on old man, just worship the idols!’ St. Polycarp replied, “for 86 years the lord has not forsaken me how can I abandon him now?” Be satisfied with the love of Christ instead of looking for love everywhere else .
When we abide in Christ, His power starts to empower us. We find that we have a strength that we never had before. To be powerful , victorious Christians, we have to abide. Like Abraham we will bear much fruit. St. John loved the lord upto His cross, so Jesus blesses him with his own mother.
When Peter finds the empty tomb he says, “I’m going back fishing.” Jesus comes to him at the shore and calls out to him, ‘Peter, are you willing to follow me? Do you love me? Remain with me.’
Today the Lord is looking for the person who will go with him to the cross. Shall we tell the Lord, ‘yes Lord I will abide in you, where you lead me I will follow.’ Let us abide in him and find that all blessing and all power and all joy comes only from Him.
Written by Dr. Merin Liza Jacob, a zealous lover of the Lord and His ways. God bless the work of her hands!