“Abide in me,” Jesus told His disciples the night before His death, “and I will abide in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (John 15:4, NKJV). In abiding,” Bruce Wilkinson writes in Secrets of the Vine, “you seek, long for, thirst for, wait for, see, know, love, hear and respond to a person.” Jesus Christ longs to have a deep intimate relationship with you—not just one that scratches the surface of your heart, but one that draws you daily into His presence. When your life is one of abiding in His presence He is your reason you seek truth. He is the hunger and thirst that is only satisfied with His intimacy. You have His peace. You wait for His call to move. You love with His love. You hear what He imparts, and you see what He wishes. You understand with His wisdom. You are in a relationship that changes the very core of who you are, and drives your life into utter fulfillment.
In these verses Jesus represents the vine and you the branch. Your life remains vital and alive as long as you stay connected to the source of your spiritual life. If you don't, you dry up and wither away. “Think about the meeting place of vine and branch,” Wilkerson writes. “Why would Jesus give us a picture of a living thing whose life force—the sap—is mysteriously out of sight? One reason could be that, in abiding, what happens on the surface doesn't count; what's happening inside does.” When you surrender to His will something amazing happens inside your heart and mind. That yielding of self creates a connection that brings His power and purpose. Nothing can keep you from the powerful spiritual life-changing force to be found in surrender when you desire His will instead of your own. In inward surrender of “self”, the outward “you” changes. When your life reveals the change in your heart the outward result is His power flowing freely and unrestrictedly through you.
Have you surrendered to the living-changing force of His will or does the heart sacrifice He calls for asks too much of you? Do you remain in His presence allowing Him to shape and mold your inner man? Do you seek His truth and purpose? Thirst for His living water? Wait for His guidance and answer? See with His eyes instead of what you see with your own? Hear with His ears instead of what your own receive? Understand with His spiritual mind instead of what your human mind perceives? God disciplines sin and prunes self so that not only your life will be transformed, but so others will be impacted by the change He has wrought in your life. When the life-blood of Jesus flows into your surrendered life, you are filled with the heart-beat of His purpose. When your heart beats for Him the change that has happened inwardly flows outwardly to others so that they too may hunger for His purpose and promise.
Does your life bear fruit? Do you surrender your will and abide in His presence? Do you continually experience the life-giving flow of His grace? This intimacy is where He becomes all that you are not and imparts all you can never find alone. Filled with His joy He is the heartbeat of your next thought—your next action—your next word. He lives in you, and abides in you.