Laurel Grove Baptist Church
What is it to abide in Christ?
Brothers and sisters, some explanations given of this are so mystical or so profound that, to many simple-minded children of God, they mean practically nothing at all. But what Jesus meant was really very simple.
He had been comparing Himself to a vine, His disciples to the branches in the vine. Some branches continued in the vine, that is, remained in living union with the vine, so that the sap or life of the vine constantly flowed into these branches. They had no independent life of their own. Everything in them was simply the outcome of the life of the vine flowing into them. Their buds, their leaves, their blossoms, their fruit, were really not theirs, but the buds, leaves, blossoms and fruit of the vine. Other branches were completely severed from the vine, or else the flow of the sap or life of the vine into them was in some way hindered.
Now for us to abide in Christ is for us to bear the same relation to Him that the first sort of branches bear to the vine. To abide in Christ is to renounce any independent life of our own, to give up trying to think our thoughts, or form our resolutions, or cultivate our feelings, and simply and constantly look to Christ to think His thoughts in us, to form His purposes in us, to feel His emotions and affections in us. It is to renounce all life independent of Christ, and constantly to look to Him for the inflow of His life into us, and the outworking of His life through us. When we do this, and in so far as we do this, our prayers will obtain that which we seek from God.
This must necessarily be so, for our desires will not be our own desires, but Christ's, and our prayers will not in reality be our own prayers, but Christ praying in us. Such prayers will always be in harmony with God's will, and the Father hears Him always. When our prayers fail, it is because they are indeed our prayers. We have conceived the desire and framed the petition ourselves, instead of looking to Christ to pray through us.
To say that one should be abiding in Christ in all his prayers, looking to Christ to pray through Him rather than praying himself, is simply saying in another way that one should pray the Spirit. When we thus abide in Christ, our thoughts are not our own thoughts, but His. Our joys are not our own joys, but His. Our fruit is not our own fruit, but His. Just as the buds, leaves, blossoms and fruit of the branch that abides in the vine are not the buds, leaves, blossoms, and fruit of the branch, but of the vine itself whose life is flowing into the branch and manifests itself in these buds, leaves, blossoms, and fruit.