Growing up, we often visited my Grandma’s house—most likely so my stay-at-home mom could get a little grown up conversation! Often I sat at her dining table while the adults talked, just staring at the sparkly cut-glass bowl she used as her centerpiece. Inside the bowl were grapes–green and red, that somehow never seemed to wither. I was so curious about these grapes. They looked plump and ripe, yet something was off. One day, when no one was looking, I reached out and touched one. And with a quick little tug, I plucked it off and popped it in my mouth. With one bite, I knew what was wrong. It was chewy, it was hollow, it was plastic!
John 15:4 says, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me” (NLT). Jesus is saying we can’t do anything of value without Him. When we attempt to do something with our own power, even “good” things, we bear nothing more than plastic fruit–empty, flavorless, and good for nothing. It may look good on the outside, but all the real benefits are missing.
So how do we remain in Christ? I believe there are 3 main components.
1. Study His Word, the Bible.
Another word the Bible uses for remain is "abide" which is defined: “To accept or act in accordance with; to stay or live somewhere.” How can we act in accordance with something we don’t know? We must be in His Word, we need to live there. Listening to Christian speakers, reading Christian books and blogs , are all good things, but without His Word going directly into our hearts and minds, we simply will not produce lasting fruit and our lives will not be transformed.
2. Love others as He has loved us.
In John 15:12 Jesus commands us to love, and through His life on earth He showed us how. 1 John 3:18 says, “Dear children, let’s not merely say we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” Jesus demonstrated His love for us in the ultimate way–He laid down His life in exchange for ours, so we would be forgiven and set free from sin and eternal separation from Him. So maybe we should ask ourselves how we are spending our time? The minutes make up the hours, that make up the days, which makes up our lives. What are we doing with it? Are we spending more time meeting needs and investing in others, or in our to-do lists and scrolling through social media?
3. Keep His commands.
In John 15:10, Jesus tells us we remain in His love when we obey Him. We can’t know if we are doing this if we aren’t doing component 1, right? And component 2 explains that Jesus commands us to love others. So to summarize His commands we are to love Jesus (by spending time with Him in His Word), and love others. We are called by His word to do many other things, that when not obeyed keep us from abiding and bearing fruit. Some of these things include: unforgiveness, pride, gossip, bitterness, addiction, immorality, and so on. What command are you hesitant to obey that is keeping you from bearing fruit? (Friends: God’s commands are always, always for our benefit, and He will help us do it!)
So if we are women seeking to bear Godly fruit in our lives–the ONLY fruit that stands the test of time, let’s care more about the quality of the fruit in our lives than the appearance of it. Let us be known by our love found in Him, abiding in The Vine–bearing the fruit that lasts.