Remain…

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.        —John 15:4-5 (Words of Jesus)

Life has often been a whirlwind of activity, going, doing, buying, visiting, working, etc, for many of us. This unprecedented time of complete shut down of community, country, countries, and the world has fallen upon many like a ton of bricks. Life can become confusing, frustrating, and even, for many, a time of great desperation and fear; as tremendous limitations and restrictions are placed upon us in this time of pandemic.

My life verses have always been Proverbs 3:5-6… “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” These verses have been, and are, very profound and special to me, and I meditate on them regularly. My confidence, hope, and trust are firmly founded, rooted, and steadfast in the one and only constant, faithful, and true God Almighty. For 34 years now, He has been my Savior, and for 26 years now I have served Him as my Lord.

Over all this time of knowing Jesus Christ, I have learned two very important and indispensable truths…
1.) God remains faithful always, unaltered and undeterred by situations, circumstances, my sin and failures, and the craziness of plagues, pandemics, tragedy, and devastation.
2.) As I remain in Him always, I also can be unaltered and undeterred by all the above mentioned things, and the fruits of my life are only because of Him.

The key word of these truths that I have learned is remain. Cambridge Dictionary defines remain as: “to stay in the same place or in the same condition.” When Jesus invites us to remain in Him, as the great vine, He is not speaking just of when it is sunny, comfortable, and easy; but rather in all circumstances and times. This ‘remaining’ in Him signifies great confidence, hope, and trust in Him to be faithful and true in all times, and in all things. When storms (pandemics, plagues, and atrocities) beat at the vine, it’s strength helps the branches. As we are branches in this great Vine (Jesus), our strength come from Him. The fruit we produce come about only as we remain in Him. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. A branch has no value, once separated from the vine. We must remain in Him, stay in place with Him, and stay in the same condition.

This covid-19 pandemic has forced many to be ‘stuck’ in the same place for extended periods of time. It is my hope that this can be a time for many of us to grow in the discipline of remaining in Jesus. As we keep Him first and foremost in our lives, now in the challenging times, it can (and should) be a discipline that we also maintain in times that are not as difficult. Remaining in Jesus is an intentional decision and discipline.

We are now in a time that forces us to remain at home, but it is my hope and prayer that this time will also help us to learn and choose even more what it means to remain in Jesus. Our source of life, love, hope, and truth is Him and Him alone. May we take time daily to spend with Him, remain in Him, and learn more of His heart and plan for our lives, so that as the doors and businesses begin opening we are found in Him and remain in Him. The fruits from our lives will be beautiful and bountiful only when we fully remain in Jesus, the true Vine. As He remains faithful and loving to me, I choose to remain in Him fully and completely, that He may produce great fruits for His glory. How about you?!