“Remain in my love.”
These are the words of Jesus.
At the beginning of the week, he reminded me that “As a branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it remains in the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me.”
As the week went on, I realized that he was focusing on himself as Love. Now we recognize that Christ is all, but there are times when he will emphasize a certain aspect of his allness in us and to us.
And so we come to know that unless we abide in him, we cannot bring to bear the fruit of Love. We will never bear any fruit if we are focused on the fruit. We will never bring to bear the fruit of Love if we are focused on the fruit of Love. With every good intention, if we are focused on the outcome, or achieving something, we will never bear the fruit of Love. Jesus is concerned with one thing; abiding. Oneness. Union. He knows that when we abide in him and him in us, fruit is a given. There is no possible way that fruit is not produced.
If he is concerned with abiding, we should be also! A branch abides. It’s very simple.
Like a couple who have tried everything to conceive a child of their own, only to be told it will not happen. But then some years later, having had to let go of their dream, seemingly out of nowhere and against all medical diagnosis they conceive naturally. The fruit of abiding in love?
Jesus says, “You are a branch. You can’t produce fruit apart from me. I am Love, and the fruit of Love is produced when you abide in me.”
I have some friends who have shown me Christ as Love in a way I’d never experienced before. I sat opposite them in their living room last year for the first time. There came a moment when they gazed at each other in such a way I knew it was Jesus. It was as if I wasn’t there. It was the purest expression of Love I had ever seen. Their journey hasn’t been an easy one. But Christ has revealed himself as Love in them. It was the simplest yet the most tangible and profound experience of the presence of God I’ve ever had. I could feel Jesus physically and spiritually. I still do when I see them. For those with eyes to see, and looking for Jesus, it is a most wonderful thing to sit opposite this couple, say nothing, and experience Jesus himself as Love.
As this couple have focused on abiding in Jesus and him in them, the fruit of Love is produced. They don’t even have to think about the fruit, they are focused on Jesus alone. They are likely blissfully unaware of the fruit. They are simply abiding in him as Love.
You see the purity of Jesus himself as Love is quite overwhelming. Love so pure is challenging. He is disarming. He makes us feel hugely vulnerable whilst somehow, at the same time, making us feel incredibly safe and secure. Love so pure somehow creates a safe place in himself to be disarmed and vulnerable. We know he will never take advantage of that. That is not something the world has to offer.
Christ in me, as Love, is loving people I would not. He is waiting for people I would have given up on a long time ago. He is loving those who others find “difficult” or “hard to be around.” Those who others have given up on.
This couple have helped to reveal Christ in me as Love. I wonder how many more that has happened to, simply by being with them. That is the fruit produced from their abiding. I knew Jesus as the Bread of Life. But they showed me how to feed others with Christ the Bread as Love.
Abiding brings the focus simply to Christ. Not to the fruit, but to Jesus himself. He takes care of the fruit.
Eat the Bread, drink the Living Water. Let’s abide.