April 7, 2020
Abide in Christ
Devotional by: Chris Coleman
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” ~ John 15:5
This season of the COVID-19 pandemic and the guidelines for social distancing have brought into sharp focus my need to abide in Christ. I’ve realized that we as a culture have largely forgotten how to abide. I dare say we may not even know what it means to abide anymore. Most of us probably use the word as a term for accepting something. When we abide, it’s usually by the terms of a contract or law.
The deeper, biblical invitation to abide stands in stark contrast to our near-infinite ability to distract ourselves. We are a culture that can summon distant worlds, stories, and people directly into our living rooms. The slightest hint of boredom can be alleviated by the push of a button, and the quiet pangs of loneliness can be quickly chased away by a text or phone call. We simply do not—or perhaps even will not—abide.
Jesus’ command to abide in him is an invitation with mortal consequence. He describes you and me as branches whose very survival depends upon our ability to abide. The Greek word used in John 15:5, and throughout the New Testament, is the word menō. The word menō means to stay, remain, or to continue to be. Jesus invites us to abide with him, the vine, because the fate of branches separated from their vine is death.
That fate should be reason enough to abide in Christ, but there is also the promise of fruit for those who abide. Should you abide in Christ, he promises that you will bear much fruit—fruit like “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23a). What better promise could be made to us in this season?
The words of Christ in John 15:5 are an invitation to reject the distraction and escapism this world offers us. Trust Jesus with your fear, boredom, and loneliness in this season. Abide—stay, remain, and continue to be—in him.
Passages for Further Study
1 John 2:1-15