When I think about the word remain, I ponder the idea of staying. In the well-known passage of John 15, Jesus describes the concept of staying connected to God like a branch on a tree. John 15:4 says, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” He goes on to say in verse 9, “Remain in my love.”
What Does Remain in My Love Mean?
John 15:9 says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” What does it truly mean to remain in the love of God? We are always loved by the Lord, but we as humans are not always aware of His love. Great ways to simply stay mindful of the Agape love of Christ is by reading His Word, praying and thanking Him for His great kindness, remembering the ways in which He has shown compassion toward us, and being connected in the community of believers who remind us of His love. Rachel Dawson from Crosswalkshares, "Agape love is a sacrificial love that binds. It is the love of God that we see through the cross of Jesus Christ. It is the love that saves and restores humanity in the face of sin and death.”
It is important to think about the fact that a branch might not stay on a tree. If bad weather comes a branch can break off and fall to the ground broken, separated from its source of life. We were each this branch. We were broken and separated by the Creator from our sins, but He has grafted us back into His family by the blood of Jesus.
The Jewish people were and still are God’s chosen people to this day. Many of them missed that Jesus came for them and the world. In Romans 11:20, it describes their unbelief causing them to be broken off. “Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble.” However, in God’s great mercy and grand plan, He shares that they can be grafted into His family again. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again (Romans 11:23). Verse 24 goes on to tell the Gentiles that they were grafted into this family of faith even though they were not children of Israel.
The fact that we are able to even be a part of the family of God is beautiful. He took our dead branches and grafted us back in to give us new life. I think of how Jesus Himself died on a tree at the cross. It is because of his death on that tree that we can be bought back into right standing with the Lord.
What Is the Context of John 15:9?
John 15 shares Jesus’ teaching of “The Vine and the Branches.” Jesus starts out sharing that God the Father is the “true vine” and gardener. He is refining and reshaping who we are to be more like Himself. The goal is fruitfulness. When a gardener prunes, it is to produce more fruit in the long run. It is never fun at the moment, but we can have hope in the fact that it is for our benefit and for the glory of God.
Jesus says to remain in Him and that He remains in us. His Holy Spirit is the constant gift of His presence. The Spirit will always have us sealed once we are saved, but we have personal decisions if we will live by the Spirit or by our flesh. Jesus encourages us to do the latter. He explains that we can only bear good fruit by Him. We need to have that Spiritual connectedness to produce fruit in our lives. This can be the fruit of the Spirit or fruit of the Gospel of sharing about our faith. The context of this verse is reminding us that when we are rooted in Christ, we can live out lives that model Him and bring Him glory. We can be useful, beautiful, and extend His Kingdom work by the power of His Spirit.
John 15 goes on in verses 10-17 to tell us that Jesus shared this so that we would have full joy and love others as He has loved us. We are not called his servants; we are called His friends. He chose us to go tell of His love to others. I believe that Jesus ends out this position of teaching with loving others because we can effectively love them when we ourselves have been loved. When we are filled up by the perfect love of Christ, we can go into the world and share that love from our constant and ever-present Source.
Why Does Remaining in Love Result in Fruit?
When a tree is healthy, it cannot help but produce good fruit. In the same way, when a person is spiritually healthy, he or she cannot help but share that love with others. A person will naturally shine the light of Christ when he is overflowing from his own relationship. When we remain in the love of God that Father (Our Source), we can have the capacity to extend that to those around us. Kristi Walker from Christianity shares. “Spiritual love is unending, not a temporary feeling, emotion, or attraction.”
Practically speaking, studying the Bible leads to knowledge that is applied to life situations. A person will know how to respond Christ-like in a scenario because of that time with the Lord. Or a person who knows their identity is a child of God will live out that title confidently regardless of what others say or do. If a person has experienced the great grace of Jesus, he then desires to give that same grace to others because of the Spirit’s work in his life.
Ways to Remain in God's Love Today
There are many ways we can remain in God’s love today.
We can remain in His love by walking and seeking Jesus daily through time in the Bible. We can stay connected by asking the Lord to reveal how we can love others each day. We can stay with Him by praying throughout our days and inviting God into every moment. We can meet with Him through singing songs to Him. We can simply rest in the fact that we are fully loved by Christ and cease from striving. We can ask the Holy Spirit to fill us up with His abundant love. We can share the Gospel with others.
Kelly Balarie from Crosswalk shares, “To stand down? It looks like this: Lay it down: To give God what you're trying to own. 2. Give it up: To step out in faith, knowing that his goodness will lead to a good result. 3. Cease-fire: To stop blaming other people, problems, or circumstances.”
There are many ways to remain in God’s love. The best part of this message from John 15 is that we are already perfectly loved by the Lord, and He is growing us and using us to share His love. Know today that He is the Vine, and we are the branches. He is the only One who can help us produce fruit. It is for His glory that we exist, and it is a joy to live in the family of God.
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Emma Danzey’s mission in life is to inspire young women to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. Emma is a North Carolina resident and green tea enthusiast! She is married to her husband Drew and they serve international college students. She enjoys singing, dancing, trying new recipes, and watching home makeover shows. During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Currently, she is in the editing stages of her first two writing projects: a Bible study on womanhood and a non-fiction book on singleness. You can visit her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com
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