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. John 15:5
I heard it again and again. God quietly inked John 15:5 into my heart. A text, a conversation, a sermon- little reminders, the same verse, over and over. “Remain in me. Depend on me.” God’s voice echoed in my mind.
How do I remain in God? What does this mean in my life? The questions followed God’s whisper of love. When He calls, we must answer, but how?
Faith is a tree. Just like a sturdy oak tree, God sustains us. His roots span deep into the ground. He is unfailing, unwavering, unshaken in the storm. He stands firm; he stands strong. We are the branches. Life flows from His firm foundation. Without a tree, a branch is nothing. God is our sole source of life, we are totally dependent on him. All growth, all life flows from His tree.
Like any good gardener, God prunes us. He shapes our branches, creating a flourishing life. It may be painful, and it may be ugly for a little while. But it is always for His good, for the good of the tree. Spring arrives and the tree teems with life and bloom, beautiful, flourishing, and thriving. Beauty from pain.
We must learn to remain in our own beautiful little part of the magnificent tree of God’s love. I read my Bible, pray, and go to church. I walk in fellowship with God. But His quiet whisper of John 15:5 reminded me that there is so much more. Complacency and pride lead to death. I can’t forget that I am nothing but a rotting, crumbling, dead branch without God sustaining me.
God calls me deeper still. My works can never save me; my striving can never save me; my own attempts at holiness will never save me. Nothing can change the fact that I am simply a branch. Sturdy and flourishing or weak and barren, no matter what, I am a branch. Nothing, however, changes the fact that God is the everlasting vine. He is strong.
God calls us into his ever deeper waters of grace. There is no limit to His mercy. This is a continual journey with no room for complacency. Our destination will never be achieved in this life. The final destination is heaven and we press on until the day we stand before God’s throne.
For me, this means I need to pause and reflect. Am I truly pursuing God and following Him deeper and deeper? What is the condition of my heart, am I truly remaining in Him? Is every step I take in sync with His voice? Am I letting Him guide me and trusting in Him? Far too often, if I am honest, the answer would be no. It’s a daily decision to choose His love, to walk in his grace.
So I’m tuning my heart to his call. I’m pursuing God wholeheartedly as He pursues me. This takes intentionality. I’m committing to digging deeper into scripture. I’m learning to live in constant dialogue with God. I am memorizing scripture, one verse at a time, hiding God’s word in my heart. I’m writing and journaling more because that’s how I connect with God, it brings God’s voice to life. That’s what this call to remain in Christ means for me. What does it mean for you?
Faith is one baby step after another towards God. It’s choosing to remain in God. It’s not a list to check off so you can be a “better Christian.” It’s not about me or you, it’s about God. It’s about grace. Ultimately, the call to remain in God is a call to surrender. We must admit our own weakness, admit that we are simply a branch. Then we must trust in His strong roots of mercy.