Read John 15:1-27.
The Fourth of July is such a fun holiday to celebrate. I particularly love celebrating this holiday out at the lake with friends. This year, friends and I decided to rent a boat while we were at the lake. There was a large group of us celebrating the holiday together, so we took turns getting on the boat. What I did not know when I got on the boat for a ride was that my friend who was steering the boat that day was a speedy pilot and liked to make boat rides an adventure. I soon found out this was not going to be a peaceful boat ride. My friend’s steering tactics coupled with the rough lake water that day, made this boat ride quite an adventure. We were going so fast that I was sure I was going to fall out of the boat. As a result, I was holding on to the rails for dear life. I did not want to fall, so all I knew was to hold on to the boat as tightly as I could. My friends, in a world that is so uncertain and full of distractions, difficulties, and sin, disobedience toward God, we are to cling to Jesus. We are to hold onto Him as if our life depends on it because, indeed, it does.
In John chapter fifteen, Jesus continues one of His last conversations with His disciples. As He is speaking with them, He says, “I am the True Grapevine and My Father is the Gardener (verse one) … 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 (verse four). Yes, I am the Vine, you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing” (verse five). In telling this to His disciples, He is using a metaphor that they will understand because they would have been very familiar with seeing grapevines. In this metaphor, Jesus calls Himself the Vine and His followers the branches. Just like a branch needs to stay attached to the vine to produce fruit, a follower of Jesus must also stay attached to Jesus. In this instruction, Jesus specifically uses the word “remain.” He calls His followers to remain in Him. This may sound like a passive action, but let me assure my friend, it is not. In fact, to “remain” is extremely active. To remain in Jesus is a lot like how I remained on the boat on the Fourth of July, holding on for dear life. Remaining in Christ means clinging to Him.
Just like this command was true for Jesus’ disciples, this command is true for you today. Jesus is still calling you to remain in Him, and this is an active command. He is calling you to cling to Him and hold on to Him with a white-knuckle intensity, especially when life is tough. How will you remain in Him today?
Reflect on these verses from John 15 today. Take out your journal or a notebook and answer these questions: When you think of the command “remain,” do you typically think of it as an action word or something that happens casually? Why or why not? How does viewing “remain” as active change your view of this command from Jesus? How can you actively remain in Jesus today?