Maybe this teaching of Jesus has frightened you:
6 If you do not remain [some translations read, abide] in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. (John 15:6)
Jesus told His followers to abide or remain in Him or else. Yikes! If that is the case, we had better understand how we can abide in Him. What do we have to do?
Let me ask a question: When you were growing up, what did you have to do to make sure you lived in your home? Nothing? What gave you the right to simply walk in without knocking, go up to your room and flop down on the bed? That right came with the fact that you were in the family. You lived in that home because, as a child of your parents, it was your home. They gave you the right. If you continually questioned whether you lived there they would have taken you for a professional check up.
Same thing with Jesus. When we receive Him by faith, He gives us the right to be born into God’s family. The Spirit of God is born into our souls and we become children of God. As members of His family, we live, or abide, or remain in Him. Forever. In His teaching on this, Jesus said,
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. (John 15:1)
In his classic work, Abide in Christ, Andrew Murray points out that it is up to the gardener to keep a grafted branch secure in the vine. God is the One who draws us to Jesus and secures us in Him.
So why does Jesus tell us to abide in Him? It’s a matter of recognizing and remembering where our home is as we go through life. In a criminology class in college, I once visited a maximum security prison. It was a grim and sometimes frightening experience. From time to time I deliberately reminded myself, “I don’t live here; I get to leave in a couple hours.” In the same way, we who have come to abide in Christ, are taught we don’t live here. We are strangers sent as ambassadors of Jesus. Sojourners. As we hang on to that reality, it transforms our attitudes and actions.