If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
He had professed his faith in Jesus Christ many times during his childhood and adolescence. Each year at summer camp he responded to the altar call and “got saved”. One might think that sounds rather silly, but there was a very compelling reason for this annual tradition. He could see that his friends who accepted Christ and grew in their faith began to produce fruit. Sometimes this would manifest in a simple answered prayer. Other times it would be evident through their maturity in spiritual knowledge or wisdom. Whatever the case, his issue was that he did not see this progress in himself. That is why he went to that alter every summer. He recognized there was something missing in him, but his justification was not the issue. The boy simply never allowed the word to abide in him.
This idea of mutual abiding between us and Christ, as well as his word abiding in us, seemed for so long like a rather elusive spiritual concept for me. What I failed to understand was the permanency of this verb. For the word to abide within us does not mean that we believe today and possibly doubt tomorrow. It also is not enough that we cling to some of God’s word but not all of it. When we allow the word to abide in us we have accepted it without question in full and given it a secure place in which to reside. It is as if the word is anchored within us, attached to the foundation. It is fixed and stable in that position. When the word occupies that place it then can produce fruit through us, which is the outward demonstration to the world that we follow God and that He is the one true God.
We cannot forget that the purpose of the word abiding in us and producing fruit is that the Father would be glorified. That makes this very critical to our faith. If we are going to live fruitful lives that glorify him his word must be anchored within us. If we are going to please him with our faith, we must not waver in our acceptance of his word. That acceptance must be unconditional, complete and without question. We can survey the spiritual fruit in our lives to determine whether we indeed have allowed the word to abide in us. That will tell us whether we have pleased and glorified God with our faith, or whether further surrender is required. Father, let us believe in and hold fast to the entirety of your word without exception that we would be fruitful and glorify You.