“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vineyard keeper. 2 He removes any of my branches that don’t produce fruit, and he trims any branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit. 3 You are already trimmed because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. John 15:1-4, CEB
9 “As the Father loved me, I too have loved you. Remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy will be in you and your joy will be complete. 12 This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you. John 15:9-12, CEB
What does remaining (or abiding) in God look like?
Whatever it is we do in order to “abide”, whether it’s spiritual disciplines we do on our own, or acts of worship, or just general community-building kinds of things, in order to truly abide we need to keep our eyes on the big-picture purpose of abiding: to become people who reflect God’s love.
In order to do this, we have to allow ourselves to be challenged. We can’t be too certain about how the world works, or what the “right” way of doing things is. Certainty kills abiding because it prevents us from being able to truly receive new ideas, attitudes, or beliefs. If we already know everything, then nothing is new, and if nothing is new, how can we grow?
God is a bit too mysterious to be too explainable in ways that make sense to us. What we think “love” looks like might be totally wrong. We need to investigate what God’s version of love is and use the people around us to help us continue to learn.