I’ve written several times that I live in wine country. All around the area in which I live are vineyards. I have several friends who are vintners or winemakers. They make award-winning wines that people from all over California come to taste. If you ask them some of the most important aspects of winemaking, they will tell you vine management. Making sure those vines get enough sun is essential to a good year of wine. Jesus uses that as an analogy for us to stay close to Him. We need to remain in Christ to grow and produce fruit.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”
Ensure Optimum Growth
Jesus uses a word picture that everyone one of His listeners can understand. Jews were familiar with vineyards because they dotted the landscape of Israel. Wine was a typical drink, and many had participated in the harvest and grape crushing. They knew that no grapes would grow unless the branch was attached to the vine. The vineyard manager took special care of the vines to ensure optimum growth. Jesus tells the crowd that He is the vine and that they need to be attached to Him to see spiritual fruit grow in their lives. Unless they remained attached, they would wither up and die.
To abide means to remain or dwell. Jesus is inviting you to dwell with Him. What does this look like? It is a disciple growing spiritually and dependent upon the leading of the Holy Spirit. They know what the will of God is because they have filled their minds with the Word of God and their hearts with the love of Jesus. They surround themselves with like-minded disciples and sacrificially give their time and resources to the church and those less fortunate. All of those encompass abiding in Christ.
Remain in Christ
When you remain in Christ, you will eventually see spiritual fruit evident. Paul lists them in Galatians 5, with love being the predominant fruit. All the rest, peace, joy, self-control, patience, etc., are sub-components of love. Every disciple needs to grow in Agape love or Christ-like love. That is a sign of spiritual maturity. Are you lacking fruit? Check your connection and see if you need to strengthen it.