Remaining is Not Straining
Want joy? Peace? Joy and peace remain when we remain in Christ. But staying put is a hard thing to do. There will be many things that try to pull us away, including ourselves. But remaining is not straining and the One who called us is able to help us remain in Him.
Bible Reading of the Day: John 15-16
This imagery of the vine and branches and God being the Gardener is one I think we all can understand. We know that a branch cannot bear fruit apart from the vine—it must remain on the vine.
The word remain in the Greek means to stay, abide, reside. It means to wait for and not depart.
Remaining is Not Straining—Believe
First, we need to be on the vine. Christ accomplished this by coming and speaking the word. And when we believe, we are grafted in.
John 15:3, “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.”
It is in remaining in Christ that we bear much fruit, as it says in John 15:4-8
“4 Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples.”
Remaining is Not Straining—In Christ, not Culture
We need to remain and abide in Christ in order to live this Christian life. Being in the Christian culture is not the same as living the abundant life Christ has for us. Remaining in Christ has its benefits. We bear fruit. We can ask whatever we want from Jesus. And we belong to Him and need to remain in Christ’s joy, His love, His word, and His commandments.
Remaining is Not Straining—Abiding in His Word
Remaining in Christ means God’s word remains in us. We have to study His word for it to remain.
John 15:7, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you.”
Remaining in Christ means we have to keep the Father’s commands. It is not enough to just know them. We stay when we choose to order our life after God’s word. We have love when we abide in Christ.
John 15:9, “As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”
Remaining is Not Straining—The Joyful Life in Christ
We have joy by remaining as it says in John 15:11
“11 I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”
God chose us. He grafted us in as a branch to remain in His love and joy. The benefits of this incredible relationship are unimaginable.
“14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants anymore, because a servant doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.”
Remaining is Not Straining—Abiding During Persecution
But the world is not going to love us. Jesus taught the disciples and ultimately us to keep us from stumbling when the hard times come. Persecution would come. The world would hate us as it hated Him.
John 16:1, “I have told you these things to keep you from stumbling.”
And here is why the world hates Jesus and will hate us too:
21 “But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they don’t know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now they have no excuse for their sin.”
The truth convicts people. And we are called to speak for Jesus by and through the Holy Spirit.
Remaining is Not Straining—The Holy Spirit Helps Us
Jesus shares the good news about the Holy Spirit coming and how the Holy Spirit will help us to remain in Christ.
“7 Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: 9 About sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; 11 and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”
Friends, you are loved. Remain in Christ. Believe and trust in Him!
John 16:27 For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.”
Scripture of the Day: John 16:33
“33 I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”
We can have joy, love, peace if we remain in Christ.
- To remain in Christ is to maintain God’s word in our lives.
- To remain in Christ is to refrain from sin and obey His commandments.
7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan
Day #244: John 15-16
Scripture of the Day: John 16:33
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