Religion is meant to be in everyday life a thing of unspeakable joy.
And why do so many complain that it is not so? Because they do not
believe that there is no joy like the joy of abiding in Christ and in His love,
and being branches through whom He can pour out His love on a dying world.
-Andrew Murray, The True Vine
I am the vine, ye are the branches. – John 15:5
How much weary labor there has been in striving to understand what abiding is, how much fruitless effort in trying to attain it! Why was this? Because the attention was turned to the abiding as a work we have to do, instead of to the living Christ, in whom we were to be kept abiding, who Himself was to hold and keep us. We thought of abiding as a continual strain and effort – we forget that it means rest from effort to one who has found the place of his abode. Notice how Christ said, “Abide in Me; I am the Vine that brings forth, and holds, and strengthens, and makes fruitful the branches. Abide in Me, rest in Me, and let Me do My work. I am the true Vine. All I am, and speak, and do is divine truth, giving the actual reality of what is said. I am the Vine. Only consent and yield your all to Me, and I will do all in you.”
And so it sometimes comes that souls who have never been especially occupied with the thought of abiding are abiding all the time, because they are occupied with Christ. Not that the word abide is not needful; Christ used it so often because it is the very key to the Christian life. But He would have us understand it in its true sense – “Come out of every other place, and every other trust and occupation, come out of self with its reasonings and efforts, come and rest in what I shall do. Live out of yourself; abide in Me. Know that you are in Me; you need no more; remain there in me.”
I am the Vine. – Christ did not keep this mystery hidden from His disciples. He revealed it, first in words here, then in power when the Holy Spirit came down. He will reveal it to us too, first in the thoughts and confessions and desires these words awaken, then in power by the Spirit. Do let us wait on Him to show us all the heavenly meaning of the mystery. Each day, in our quiet time, in the inner chamber with Him and His Word, our chief thought and aim should be to get the heart fixed on Him. We can have the assurance: All that a vine ever can do for its branches, my Lord Jesus will do, is doing, for me. Give Him time, give Him your ear, that He may whisper and explain the divine secret: “I am the vine.”
Above all, remember, Christ is the Vine of God’s planting, and you are a branch of God’s grafting. Stand always before God, in Christ – waiting for all grace from God, in Christ, yielding yourself to bear the more fruit the Husbandman asks, in Christ. And pray much for the revelation of the mystery that all the love and power of God that rested on Christ is working in you too. “I am God’s Vine,” Jesus says; “all I am I have from Him; all I am is for you; God will work it in you.”
* * *
I am the vine. Blessed Lord, speak that word into my soul. Then shall I know that all Your fullness is for me and that I can count upon You to stream it into me. My abiding is so easy and so sure when I forget and lose myself in the adoring faith that the Vine holds the branch and supplies its every need.