Today, on our 10th day of the Gratitude Challenge 2022, our word is abide. Does it bring up any mental images for you right away?
It does for me!
To see the original Gratitude Challenge 2022 post, visit The Uncommon Normal to get all the details. You may even want to join in!
Abide and Bear Fruit
When I heard this word, the first thing that came to mind was Jesus speaking of the branch and the vine. It’s always been one of my favorite stories, however chilling it might be at its heart.
The message is simple yet profound and takes on even deeper meaning still if you know how a branch is actually grafted into a vine in a vineyard.
This is the way a professional vineyard worker grafts in a vine. While the grafted branch may not have been a part of the original vine, it is incorporated in such a way as to receive all its sustenance and life from the vine. Take the branch out and leave it on its own… and it will die.
You can find this picture, and the amazing explanation with it, here:
Jesus Speaking of the Branch and the Vine
I never really saw the true meaning of this parable until I saw an actual grafted grapevine. And then it all made sense. I hope that it strikes you the same way as you read along with the following excerpt from John 15:4-7
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is wiethered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
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 15:4-7
Isn’t that beautiful?? Can you imagine Jesus making this comparison for all of us who will ABIDE in Him? Why, if we will abide in Him, He says, we can ask “what we will,” and it shall be done for us!
No, not like a genie in a bottle. The Bible also tells us that we often don’t get what we ask for because we ask amiss (James 4:3). When we petition the One true and living God, we must be in line with His will and Word. Obedience is, after all, better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22).
Defining the Word Abide
According to the Strong’s Concordance, the word abide is translated from the Greek “meno,” and of its several meanings, one is: “to remain as one, not to become another or different.”
Ah! I love that so much! It’s a word picture (for word nerds like me) that perfectly describes the photo above of the grafting. The two actually become one. In fact, once the grafts “takes,” the two cannot be separated successfully, without the loss of the branch.
Understanding the actual root words in the Scriptures can mean a lot, which is why I only use the King James Version of the Bible. Although it isn’t the first English translation, and it was partially translated from the Latin Vulgate, it’s still very close to the original translation. I can’t help but think that Jesus KNEW what would happen through translation and thus instructed Paul to teach Timothy (and all of us, via the Word) to “rightly divide” the Word, studying to show ourselves approved.
But that’s a topic for another day.
If We Don’t Abide
I mentioned, too, that this small section of Scripture was also chilling in a way. Jesus says plainly that if a man (or woman) doesn’t abide in Him, they are cast forth as a branch… and the Word goes on to tell what happens to it.
First, it withers. Being cut off from the life source, the branch is without nourishment and water and cannot survive! Once withered, it’s good for nothing. So the “men” (the vineyard workers or dressers) gather the withered branches and cast them in the first.
This part of the story reminds me of other times the Word talks about being cast into the fire:
Matthew 3:10 says, “And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”
In Matthew 7:19, we find, “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”
Matthew 13:49-50 says, “So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
How Do We Abide?
With so much at stake, it’s worth our time to find out how best to abide! I could say so much about this and have in past posts. But for the sake of brevity, I will say that it all boils down to obedience.
What Jesus taught was simple (2 Corinthians 11:3). The Gospel of the Kingdom is not hard to understand if we study it with an open mind and heart.
We must be born again. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. That which is born of flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:5-6)
This speaks to water baptism and Holy Ghost baptism with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. 1 Peter 1:23 confirms it again: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.”
Obedience is Better Than Sacrifice
We abide by being obedient to the Scripture. It is infallible, without question. If you think there is ever a contradiction within the Word, check your denominational arc and not the Word itself. It will always ring true.
This is what leads to our becoming a productive vine that bears good fruit, and lots of it. And I’m thankful that the Word is ever-present, tried and true, and always to be trusted.