Religion is meant to be in everyday life a thing of unspeakable joy. And why do so many complain that it is not so? Because they do not believe that there is no joy like the joy of abiding in Christ and in His love, and being branches through whom He can pour out His love on a dying world.
Andrew Murray, The True Vine
Many believers pray and long very earnestly for the filling of the Spirit and the indwelling of Christ, and they wonder that they do not make more progress. The reason is often this: the “I in you” cannot come because the “abide in me” is not maintained. “There is one body, and one Spirit” (Ephesians 4:4); before the Spirit can fill, there must be a body prepared. The graft must have grown into the stem and be abiding in it before the sap can flow through to bring forth fruit. It is as we follow Christ in lowly obedience, even in external things, denying ourselves, forsaking the world, and even in the body seeking to be conformable to Him, as we thus seek to abide in Him, that we shall be able to receive and enjoy the “I in you.” The work enjoined on us: “Abide in me,” will prepare us for the work undertaken by Him: “I in you.”
In.—The two parts of the injunction have their unity in that central deep-meaning word in. There is no deeper word in Scripture. God is in all. God dwells in Christ. Christ lives in God. We are in Christ. Christ is in us: our life taken up into His; His life received into ours; in a divine reality that words cannot express, we are in Him and He in us. And the words, “Abide in me, and I in you,” tell us to believe in this divine mystery, and to count upon our God the Husbandman, and Christ the Vine, to make it divinely true. No thinking or teaching or praying can grasp it; it is a divine mystery of love. As little as we can affect the union can we understand it. Let us just look upon this infinite, divine, omnipotent Vine loving us, holding us, working in us. Let us in the faith of His working abide and rest in Him, ever turning heart and hope to Him alone. And let us count upon Him to fulfill in us the mystery: “You in me, and I in you” (John 14:20).
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Blessed Lord, You bid me abide in You. How can I, Lord, unless You show Yourself to me, waiting to receive and welcome and keep me? I pray You will show me how You as Vine undertake to do all. To be occupied with You is to abide in You. Here I am, Lord, a branch, cleansed and abiding – resting in You, and awaiting the inflow of Your life and grace.