John 15:4-8, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
I have a question; what is the difference if any of abiding in Christ or Christ abiding in you? Simple question on the surface. Just a matter of semantics, maybe. Or is it when you give it some real thought?
Too many times, because of the rush of our daily lives, we read through popular Scriptures, take it for its surface value and don’t give it any further thought. Yet it is the Holy Spirit and our relationship with Him that is continually prompting us to think about what we have read! How can we take what we have read and plant it into our hearts and spirit, if we haven’t given it a moment’s thought? Something to seriously consider.
One of my daily prayers, something that I am always whispering to the Lord throughout my day, is for Him, Christ Jesus and our Heavenly Father to ‘be glorified in me’ and also ‘let Your light shine through me.’ I am constantly thinking of what John the Baptist stated to his disciples when they came to him complaining that Jesus was actually gaining more disciples than John, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” – John 3:30.
So what IS the difference between abiding in Christ and Christ abiding in us? Let me give you a simple analogy that is fitting for the subject. Consider your home, your house as a vessel. What do you do within the four walls of that vessel? You live and go about your daily lives. The thing is, when the world passes by, all they see is the vessel and in most instances it is the same as the ones next to it and surrounding it. You and your life are hidden inside.
Now consider the Lord Jesus Christ living in your home or house. The same thing applies. He is cleaning out the house and making it acceptable, but when the world passes by, they just see another house or vessel. He is hidden inside. Yes, the inside is clean and acceptable, but the world doesn’t see it.
Now consider this truth; YOU are the house, the temple, the vessel. With the Lord Jesus Christ abiding in YOU, the inside is clean and acceptable before God, the Father, but when the world passes by, Christ Jesus is hidden within you. However, when you are abiding in CHRIST and He is the vessel, the world doesn’t see you because you are hidden within Christ Jesus, but the world then does see Christ Jesus and He IS different than all the other vessels surrounding you! When you are abiding in Christ, you are hidden from the world and what the world sees is the glory of Christ Jesus and thus the Father.
Now take this further into the things Jesus stated in the Scriptures above. He is the Vine. He is the source of all nourishment, growth, power, etc. As long as we are the branches abiding in Him as the Vine, we will produce fruit based upon His nourishment, etc. If however, for whatever reason we are detached from the Vine, then we die and we are worth nothing except to be placed in the fire. In this case, we abide in the Vine and the Vine does not abide in us, or in this illustration, the branches.
Let’s look in the Gospel of Matthew:
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16.
We are the light of the world according to Jesus. BUT, that is if we are abiding in Him and He is abiding in us. In essence, Jesus is the Light. We are either the basket OR the lampstand. When Christ Jesus abides in us, His light is there “and it gives light to all who are in the house.” However, a light hidden within the four walls of a home or house is like keeping it under a basket. The only ones getting the benefit are the ones in which the light abides. However, when the basket is removed or it is placed on a lampstand OUTSIDE the house, then we are hidden within the Light and the Light is shining “before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
“As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.” – 1 John 2:24.
“As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.” – 1 John 2:27-28.
“The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” – 1 John 3:24.
It is evident within these Scriptures that is important for Christ Jesus to abide within us, but equally important that we abide in Christ Jesus. Jesus told His disciples this right before His death and it was recorded under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for ALL generations:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35.
To be a disciple of Jesus’ means we walk and live as He did. “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” – 1 John 2:6. If we abide in Him, the world sees Him and glorifies the Father AND the Son, because that is who they see. Him abiding in us, gives us the strength and the renewed spirit to be able to let “Him increase while I decrease.”
So it would be very easy to go through life with Christ abiding within us, but if that is how we govern our new lifestyle, Christ would be hidden from the world and never have an opportunity to see Him. This is why throughout Scripture it is evident that we need both circumstances. We NEED to abide in the Vine to receive power and nourishment, but we NEED to abide in Christ so that the world will see Him and be able to glorify the Father. We may be the only Gospel message some people see and we need to make sure it is the True Word of God and not tainted with our own person! He MUST increase while we decrease. Then is when the Father and Son are glorified. Then is when the world sees the true Light that came into the world, not hidden within, but shining for all to see!
In closing I want to share something my wife found on social media and posted. It is the saying that was appropriate for this lesson:
The devil wouldn’t be attacking so hard if there wasn’t something valuable inside of you. Thieves don’t break into empty houses.