“You, remain in me, and I in you.”
This is a beautiful invitation from Jesus to us. Each day of new mercy, we have a fresh invitation from Jesus to remain in him, and him in us. To remain with a consciousness of being in Christ, and most importantly of Christ being in us.
This word ‘remain’ is a good one to contemplate. Jesus instruction to us is clear and simple. “You, remain.” You see, I am finding that when we let go of self it is not automatically an easy thing to remain. In the last couple of years, I have determined to practise what I preach so to speak. That is to take Jesus at his word. That he is who he says he is. To trust in him with all my heart and not to lean on my own understanding. To do exactly what he says and not deviate to the left or the right. To seek first the Kingdom, even willing to be a lone nut pioneering an abiding life so that others can follow the same road.
I am finding that being a branch of the Vine means that Jesus invites us to remain through the sunshine, or the cold. The rain, hail or snow. He invites us to remain when pests come and are intent on devouring the fruit that Jesus is bearing. Jesus invitation is not for those who want it easy. There is one who is intent on devouring the fruit, or stopping the branches from bearing fruit altogether. A branch of the Vine, remaining in the Vine and with the Life of the Vine within, must put it’s complete reliance on the Father, knowing that the Father has made everything ready for Jesus to bear fruit.
I will be honest, I’m challenged now like I haven’t been in the last couple of years. And a lot has happened to challenge me over that time! But nothing has compared to the last couple of months.
The choice (which is exactly what it is, a choice) to remain is a moment by moment one. He chooses me and I choose him. The choice to trust what the Father has said and revealed regardless of what others say. A choice to remain when everything outside of us says not to.
And yet, you know what I’m seeing? I’m seeing that Jesus will bear fruit no matter what is happening. This last couple of weeks have been amazing. I can see the fruit that Jesus is bringing forth. It’s beautiful to see. Others are seeing it too. His total trust of the Father that the Father has made everything ready, and his complete consciousness of all the Father gives to him is unwavering. And he chooses us to enter in to that same relationship of trust that he has.
He chooses us to remain in him, regardless of what is happening around us.
The abiding life is not for the fainthearted. It is not for those who will faint and wither at the first sign of a storm brewing. It is not for those who desire their own will above the will of the Father. “Yet not my will but yours be done.”
The abiding life is for those who are choosing to remain in him and for him to remain in them no matter what. Those who will show others just what it means to remain.
And to bring it all back to the beginning for me, Jesus says this:
“The one eating of my flesh and drinking of my blood is remaining in me and I in him.”
That’s how we remain. We eat of the True Bread, and we drink of the Living Water. We don’t stop. It is moment by moment complete reliance on Christ, the Source of Life, in us.
Let me encourage you again as I’ve done so often. Eat the Bread, drink the Living Water. Remain. Your life depends on it!
Finally, this video just happens to have been brought back to mind the last couple of weeks! Sometimes this is what it might feel like to abide. Like a lone nut dancing when no-one else is! But we know that, just as Jesus said, we need never be alone. Father is always with us. 😊