John 15:5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. 9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
Throughout this passage the word "remain" is repeated over and over. In other translations it says abide, or continue. I look that word up on Biblehub.com to try to get a little more info on the word's original meaning. This is what I found:
abide, continue, dwell, remain: A primary verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy) -- abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry
In these verses we are given a picture of a vine and branches. A lot of times we focus on the fruit. Our lives are supposed to produce fruit, yes, but that is not what it is all about. Fruit is not the focus, it is just the natural result of abiding with Christ. If we love Him, we long to be in His presence and tarry as long as we can.
So, how do we show the Father that we love Him? We obey His commandments, we love one another. We make Him the focus of our actions. True love involves being willing to sacrifice for the one you love. Jesus laid down His life for us. All He asks of us is to abide in Him. In return we are filled with joy, we are called friends of God, we can now know the masters business, and understand God's work. We can ask for anything we want and it will be given. (We are not talking about money and cars here, If we are truly abiding in Christ and loving Him, then we will be asking for things that are honoring to God, things that will help us accomplish His will.)
I have been chosen and appointed by God! Doing things for God is good, but abiding in Christ needs to come first. Then we know what God is doing, where He is at work, and how we can be most effective. A branch will not grow fruit unless it is connected to the vine, it is healthy, and growing. When I get distracted and busy and stressed by all the "stuff" that this life throws out, I need to just dwell with the Lord and allow Him to give me strength. When I start to focus on what makes me happy and what I can accomplish on my own, I need to stop and remember that apart from God, I am nothing. I must remain in Him.