We’re about to take off. I promise we’re gonna go somewhere. This flight consists of a lot of Scripture. My prayer is that you read and understand it like you never have before.

Fasten your seat belts.


Jesus spoke in parables. Parables were simple and memorable stories, often with imagery, and convey messages. Jesus only spoke in parables. After hours, when the crowds were gone, his disciples (students) would ask Him to translate a parable, he’d tell them another parable to explain the parable.

Did I lose you?

Stay with me. Jesus explained the gospel. The gospel is the good news about the procedure, terms and conditions of following him. I’m not talking about church. I’m not talking about what your parents told you. I’m not talking about rules. I’m talking about what CHRIST told us to do in order to be CHRISTians. You with me? Good.



The greatest parable that just makes sense to me is John 14.

If you’re familiar with it, I need you to read it again carefully.

If you’re not familiar with it, enjoy these 14 verses about abiding.

What is abide? I’m glad you asked. It’s a verb that means:

abide 2

Did a word stand out to you? Hold onto it mentally and, occasionally, replace abide with it.

Are you ready? Let’s do this.



I’m gonna sidebar here and there. Keep up.

John 15:1-11

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.

Jesus is the true vine. There have been a lot of “vines” that people have been connected to. Teachings, theologies, practices, people. Forget those! He’s the real deal. He’s the true vine that anyone and everyone should be hooked to. God is the farmer, the keeper, the responsible one, the planter, the waterer, the owner, etc. 

2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

Every branch that is connected and lacking gets pruned, nipped, tucked, wrapped, prepped, etc., so that it may bear more fruit. The goal is maximum fruitfulness. If the branch doesn’t deliver, it’s cut.

3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.

We have been pruned, nipped, tucked, wrapped, prepped, etc., because of hearing Jesus’ words. Knowing that He is the vine and we are the branches puts us on the same page. What do we have to do? What is the command? Keep trekking.

4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

Abide. Simply because if He really is the vine, which He is and we really are the branches, which we are. In order for us to have life, we need to be connected to Him.

5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

When this merger happens in an instance,  it happens again as we continually seek to abide in God AND THEN we bear MUCH fruit. Away from the vine, we shrivel up and die.

6 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.

Consequences of neglect are as listed.

7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

The terms and conditions of Verses 1-6 are iced over with this guarantee in verse 7. “Whatever you wish,” is still hinged on His will.

8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

We abide and WHEN we do, God is glorified, praised, extolled, worshipped, revered, honored, adored and it PROVES that we are His disciples. Not having 2 Masters and 7 Doctorates. Not pastoring a multi-campus, million member church. Abiding and bearing fruit.

Can fruit come in learning accolades, pastoring? Yes and no.

9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.

Jesus bequeathed to us the same love that God has on Him towards us. Stay in it.

10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

If you KNOW and continue to learn the commandments from God, that just don’t consist of the 10 on a stone tablet, you’ll abide.

11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

The culmination of abiding, and the cherry on top of the whole ordeal is verse 11.

Did you get it? I hope so, because this is it. Jesus broke it down.
What does following Jesus look like? It’s simple. A branch connected to a vine.

What does life without following Jesus like?  A branch disconnected to a vine. I have no idea how else I can explain this passage better. Being connected to Jesus is life. The outcome is being fruitful. That’s not just for Christian leaders at the top of the totem pole/on stage. Every Christian who abides should bear fruit.

Friends, this is the gospel.


“Shama, I have a friend who claims to be a Christian but they’re lives don’t really show it.”

Your friend doesn’t abide.

“How are you the judge of that? How can you know a person’s heart? Judge not, Shama!”

Either you’re abiding or you’re not. There is no in between. The greatest part about this whole passage is verses 7 & 8.

7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

Jesus threw out, in my opinion, the biggest incentive to following, loving, living for and trusting Him. He’ll grant whatever you wish (Remember, no is also an answer) and he is glorified when He sees us thrive where He planted us.



When I realized the simplicity and power of John 14, I kicked back. It took so much weight off my shoulders. There’s this effort in all of us which is intensified in me to BEAR ALL THE FRUIT. I was born in a Christian household, listened to nightly devotions from PhD having Father, read the Bible as chore, graduated from a 4 year Bible College. To top it all off my father or mother consistently point out or tell me about guys or gals my age or younger who preach week long revivals, committed to missions, pastoring a huge congregation, etc.

My head spins and all I can think of is “I HAVE TO BEAR FRUIT! I HAVE TO BEAR FRUIT! I HAVE TO BEAR FRUIT!”

And Jesus here calmly tells his 12 apprentices, “Just stay with Me, walk with Me, live with Me, wake up with Me, love Me, watch Me, learn about Me, that’s what my Father wants. If you do so, He’ll reward your standing by.” I love what Eugene Peterson says in the Message translation of Matthew 11:28-30

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

I want this. I want this for myself and I want this for you.
Great things happen when you stay.

Where?

In Him. Wherever that is, however, that looks and whenever you don’t feel like it.

Just stay.

Don’t panic.

Stay.



I get in my head a lot. My brain will replay horrible conversations or loop video highlights of mistakes. It’s overwhelming at times. It’s led me to tears more times than I care to confess. The ordeal always leads to a dead end of feeling like God failed me. I relied on Him and He hit the eject button. I tried abiding in Him but I honestly don’t even know where He is.

Last week, while driving, my brain queued up all these thoughts again.
I remember just punching my steering wheel and yelling at myself, “LOOK! GOD IS EITHER FAITHFUL OR HE’S A LIAR! WHAT DO WE BELIEVE!”

Friend, the peace of God short-circuited the whole replay operation in my head. I chose to trust that God is faithful because He definitely isn’t a liar. He’s taken care of me before and He’ll do it again and again and again and again. He is faithful regardless of how faithless you are right now.

If you’re looking for me, you don’t need to go far. I haven’t left. I’m still abiding. Good things have happened already but the best is yet to come. I need to stick around for that and you’re welcome to join me.

ABIDE.

 

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