How do we know that we are abiding in Christ? What does a truly abiding Christian life look like and how might we measure it? There are no absolute metrics in the spiritual life but here are some thoughts….
What does it mean to Abide in Christ?
A life of abiding in Christ brings forth the fruit of the Spirit and the fruit of the spirit brings forth the fruit of lives turned toward God.
The aroma of an abiding Christian life attracts those who pass through it.
Pointing others to God and/or the Kingdom of God was the focus of Jesus’ life and ministry.
Jesus teaches us that “A tree is known by its fruit.”
The fruit of the Spirit in our lives that blooms from abiding in Jesus is attractive if not irresistible, it draws others into us and points them to Him.
Each believer is a branch of the Vine, the Vine is Jesus. Father God is the gardener.
The Gardener cares for the Vine and the Vine supplies the branches with all they need to do all they are pruned and intended to do.
Branches are created to produce the fruit that the Gardener seeks.
He grafted the branches to the Vine giving them new life for that very purpose.
Different from natural branches though we are humans and human branches have free will and that brings choices into the equation.
Parable of the Sower
Consider the parable of the Sower.
It is the story of four seeds.
Jesus tells us that the seed is the Word of God. And the Sower sows the seed.
In the parable, the first and second seeds failed to take root and fell away.
The third and fourth seeds both took root but produced a very different crop of fruit.
What is the difference between the third and fourth seeds?
One bore fruit and the other did not.
One turned lives toward God and the other didn’t.
Again, a good tree produces good fruit.
The cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desire for other things distracted the third seed and diverted its attention from abiding.
The fourth seed cast off the distractions and heeded Jesus’ call to come “abide with me.”
The fourth seed produced a 30-60-100 fold return while abiding in Him. Fruit.
More fruit, Much fruit.
The Gardner looked at the 4th seed and He said “That’s what I’m talkin” about!”
Does Your Life Bear Fruit?
So, as we examine our lives and those we influence, is there fruit that matters?
Are lives being turned toward God?
Are lost people being encouraged to be saved?
Are believers being transformed and becoming disciples?
Is a spirit of generous living obvious in us and in those we have influence with?
Are these things growing, increasing?
If we are truly abiding they should be.
Not necessarily exponentially, some branches grow faster than others, but God has designed that living things grow and branches, both natural and spiritual branches, are living things.