“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me” (John 15:4, KJV). “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” (John 15:4, NIV).
Abide. Remain. Whichever word we use, they say the same thing. We are to abide and remain in God's presence. It is in His presence where we are transformed and where we find the sustenance which brings an abundant harvest in our lives. David Wilkerson in his book “Secrets of the Vine” shares about abiding in God’s presence. “Abiding is an act of faith―a radical expression that you value God's unrestricted presence in your life more than any immediate sensation. If you think you must always have strong feelings to know that you have been with God, you will go away from your devoted times disappointed. Before long you will say that 'Abiding did not work for me.'”
Did you catch what David Wilkerson reveals in this quote, and the depths that revelation imparts? Abiding in Jesus Christ is an act of faith and also an act of will. If you want more of God in your life, you choose “by faith” to believe He will honor the time that you devote to Him. When you make Him your first priority, abiding in Him becomes an act of willing surrender. You might also notice that David Wilkerson uses the word “devoted” times instead of “devotional” times. He does this to emphasize the fact that your time with God is one that should be “set apart” just for Him—devoted only to Him. Your time with God is not just a time to be stirred by a devotional, but a time completely devoted to Him—a time that changes you. Abiding in God's presence is also not based on feelings. My time with God is the close intimate sharing of a deep personal relationship, and not the tingling sensation of a feeling. Sometimes there will a feeling of joyful wonder in the Holy Spirit, but sometimes not. In your “devoted times” abiding with the Holy Spirit transforms and prunes your life to bring a greater harvest. You will eventually reach a place where abiding in Jesus becomes more than just being with Him during a “devoted time”. Your hunger will increase beyond bounds, and you shall discover the truth of what the psalmist wrote. “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11, ESV).
If you remain in Him, He will remain in you. If you want to live an abundant life for Him, you need to repent and turn from any thing that stands in the way of your relationship with Him. If your life is filled with selfish things that keep you from discovering your potential in Him, you need to be pruned and your priorities set straight so that He can bring forth abundance in your life. In the times of discipline and pruning, He acts. In the time of abiding, you act. When you choose to abide in Him, He abides in you and transform your life. Your relationship with Him has the promise of bringing the greatest joy and assurance that nothing can touch or destroy. Abiding and walking in His Spirit can be your way of life—if you choose to abide in Him.