What Does Abiding in Christ actually mean?
Jesus tells us in John 13.
These farewell addresses continue through chapter 17. Jesus knows he will soon be lifeless on a tree, the cross, our crucified King. Our Lord graciously reminds us that to be able to bear fruit for him, we must first bear fruit by abiding in him.
Looking at John 15 Jesus describes himself as the true vine and his Father as the vine tender. The true vine is used as a way to contrast Jesus with Old Testament Israel. The people hearing this at that time would have understand that he was the Messiah and the fulfillment of the covenant because of the Old Testament references to a vineyard (Isaiah 5:1–7; 27:2–6).
Jesus goes on to explain that the branches that do not bear fruit are removed and taken away, but the branches that bear fruit are pruned in order to bear more fruit. To bear fruit is another way to say we grow in character, to become more like Christ and produce the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23).
It is here that we find his command to abide: “Abide in me, and I in you. Since the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it attached to or abiding in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (John 15:4).
So that is what abiding means to us.
In John 15: 6 (ESV) Jesus shows us what it means not to abide in Him.
6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
Not abiding in Christ, not be attached to him results in our inevitable withering into sin and self-destruction. There can be no other result.
John 15:10 gives us a focused definition of what abiding means.
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. John 15:10, KJV: If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
How we do that on a daily basis begins with our trust, prayer, and devotion to God. We abide through a daily relationship. We pursue, pray and obey in love. We learn to keep Christ in and on or minds all the time. This will over time reveal itself in our recognition that Christ is always with us. The fruit Jesus speaks of is relationship with Him. Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, the Alpha & Omega, the one who bore our sins and transgressions wants us to be his friend.
Abide in him, and he will abide in you. This is our effort in the new year!
Philippians 1: 6 (ESV)
6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.