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. (John 15:4, NLT)
Discipleship Truth: Abiding in Christ is simply remaining in constant communion with Jesus. That concept is very basic, but it can also be quite challenging. Apart from staying connected to Jesus, all human efforts to become godly are useless and ineffective (John 15:5-6). Believers who abide in Christ also bear fruit—the proof of discipleship (15:8). As Christians allow Jesus to direct their lives, He provides daily energy and endurance. The Lord is the only One who can sustain, purify, empower, and guide people to gracefully navigate each challenge they encounter.
True Story: Dark vines with bright green leaves formed an intricate latticework across the colorful Galilee hillside. Clusters of purple grapes weighed the branches down. The old vines appeared to have graced this hillside for centuries! As our tourist group surveyed the vineyard, our teaching guide prompted us to open our Bibles to John 15. After reading the passage and listening to his comments, God reminded me of these truths about viticulture and abiding in Christ:
Pruning is essential. Pruning increases each plant’s productivity. For new growth to take place, aging branches must be removed. Too much old wood creates unwieldy overgrowth. The process of clipping and pruning trains the younger branches to grow in the proper direction.
“Rogue” branches are unwelcome. When gazing at a long row of vines, it is hard to imagine a branch deciding to “go rogue.” Each branch receives precious nutrients from the vine. For that reason, good-for-nothing shoots must either be dramatically pruned or completely removed.
Stay connected. The only way to grow and keep receiving rich nutrients is to remain attached to the vine. It’s impossible to produce any fruit when disconnected from Jesus. Breaking free from the vine leads to certain death!
Amazingly, the Lord rewards faithful followers with the privilege of producing fruit! After surviving the travail of pruning and maturing, the branches bear delicious bunches of grapes. The Lord honors us with glorious fruit that brings life and nourishment to others.
- As you read John 15:1-11 with your child, draw a picture of the scene that Jesus describes.
- Talk about the process of pruning and ways of abiding in Christ.
- Encourage your child to point out activities and attitudes that limit his or her ability to bear fruit.
- Examine your own walk with Jesus. Does anything need to be adjusted? Commit to cling wholeheartedly to Christ. He has already made that commitment to you—and He will remain faithful!
Portions of this article taken from the ABCs of Family Discipleship booklet, available here.