Read John 15: 1-11, 16
“Abide in me says Jesus. Cling to me. Stick fast to me. Life the life of a close and intimate communion with me. Get nearer to me. Roll every burden on me. Cast your whole weight on me. Never let go your hold on me for a moment. Be, as it were, rooted and planted in me. Do this and I will never fail you. I will ever abide in you.” – J. C. Ryle
The task of the Christian life is simply to abide in Christ. He is the One who does the work in and through us, yet we so often struggle to do it on our own apart from Him.
In John 15, Jesus gives us the key to following Him and living the Christian life – abiding. As we rest in His work and allow Him to work in and through us, we will bear fruit (live like Jesus) and our fruit will show the watching world that we belong to Jesus. The gospel is displayed not by our good works and attempts to follow Jesus but by Jesus’ work in us. When we try to do it on our own apart from a complete reliance on Jesus, we will fail.
The concept of abiding runs contrary to all of our natural inclinations. As human beings, we are naturally wired towards following rules and checking off boxes. That is why so many people enjoy attempting to thrive in legalistic, religious environments. If we have boxes to check off, we can prove to ourselves that we are good achievers for Jesus. In John 15, Jesus is not calling us to achieve but to abide. As we rely on Jesus’ achievement for us on the cross that purchased our salvation, we also rely on Jesus’ continuing achievement in us to live the Christian life.
This is what makes the Christian life so hard – we cannot do it on our own, and we must live from a place of abiding surrender. It is only when we surrender ourselves and abide in Jesus that we can bear fruit and show the world the power of the gospel. The Christian life is a passive life because Jesus is the active Agent working through us to make us more like Him.
Lord Jesus, Help me to abide through surrender. When I think that I can do it on my own, remind me of the truth of the gospel that You have done it all for me. Teach me what it looks like to let you live through me so that the world may see that I belong to You. Amen.
Thought for the Day
Living the Christian life is not done by human effort but by embracing the art of surrender.