John 15:1 declares “I am the True Vine, and my Father is the Husbandman.” In verses 4-5 Jesus goes on further to elaborate “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. I am the Vine, ye are the branches; He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me, ye can do nothing.”

Personally, these are some of my favorite inspirational verses. They have encouraged me many times, especially the word Abide. In my mind’s eye, it is a picture/action word meaning to dwell, stay, soak-up, draw-from, be still in. But, what am I abiding in? The answer of course is Jesus, the True Vine. Only in Him can we gain true strength for this journey, for He alone is our source for true strength. Apart from Him, I can do nothing. Nothing that is real, nothing that is eternal, nothing that is truly good, nothing that won’t get burned up at the Judgement (Bema) Seat of Christ, which is really a heavenly rewards banquet. (2 Cor. 5:10 and 1 Cor. 3:11-15) I want to abide in the True Vine so I produce real, abiding, eternal fruit.

But, on the flip side, If Jesus tells us He is the True Vine, that to me means there are false vines out there. We can easily see that many people abide in things that do not give them healthy fruit. Drugs, alcohol abuse, sexual sin, pride, selfishness; any of the things this temporal world has to offer, if clung to, only serve to produce rotten fruit in our lives. Temporary fruit. It may be sweet for a moment, but terribly sour in the gut for the long term. And much of the sad fruit that is produced by abiding in false vines is sour not just for ourselves, but for branches that touch our branch also. Children of alcoholic parents, are affected by the fruit that lifestyle produces. I know that personally, as that was the false vine my parents were abiding in for most of my childhood. Only when I changed to personally abiding in the True Vine did I find strength, and nourishment, and sweet fruit that never rotted. I chose at an early age to cling to Jesus the True Vine. I have experienced the difference of the True Vine vs. the false vines. You have too, if you have given your life to Jesus. Why then would anyone go back to the old vines when they see, feel, experience the abundant life the True Vine has to offer?!

How then do we continue to abide in the True Vine? Jesus says “if ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” vs. 7. If you have already made the first step of asking Christ to be your True Vine, (Salvation itself) then read read read His word. Never neglect reading the Bible. The Bible was given to us so we could keep the Word of God in our hearts and minds, soaking it in, dwelling on it, learning about Him through it, growing in this Christian life by studying it. Prayer, fellowship, serving Him, telling others about Him… all of these are the foundation of abiding in The True Vine.