John 15:4 “Abide in me, and I in you.”
John 15:5 “Whoever abides in me and I in him…”
Jesus says to His disciples, “Abide in me.” This is the command of John 15. Why? Because you can’t do anything apart from Him. You are hopeless without Him. If you lop a branch off a peach tree, you know you’re not getting any more peaches from that branch. Likewise, if you depend on yourself (your perceived “wisdom”, your strength, your abilities, etc.), you’ll fail. No fruit will come from you, and it’d be gracious of God to reveal your foolishness to you. So, believer, cast off self-reliance. Deny autonomy. Admit your insufficiency.
Honestly, I think you probably get this when you read John 15. It doesn’t take a close examination of the passage to realize the desperate dependence you should have on Jesus, the True Vine. There is, however, something often overlooked in this passage, and it’d be terrible if you never saw it. It’s a rest-giving truth. And let’s note the irony: if you don’t see this truth, you’ll be tempted to remain in self-reliance in your effort to abide in Jesus.
So what is it? What is the truth in John 15 that will give you rest and protect you from hypocrisy? It’s this: Jesus abides in you. See the emphasis in the verses at the top? “…and I in you.” “…and I in him….”
If you’re truly His disciple, then the Son of God abides in you. He has united Himself to you. He identifies with you and in you. What this means is that your abiding in Him doesn’t ultimately depend on you. It depends on Him. In all your effort to abide in Jesus, you’re not left to your own strength. Your abiding in Him is completely undergirded by His abiding in you. Rest in this. He’s not left you to get everything right by yourself.
Are you discouraged by your failure to abide in Him? Trust that He forever abides in you by the Holy Spirit. Are you downcast because you are prone to wander? Bind your wandering heart to the truth that Jesus Christ, the eternal Ruler of all of creation, abides in you. Grieve your incompetence briefly. Rejoice in your sufficient Savior always. He abides in you.