The word “abide” means to hang out, to permanently relax, like how a branch is attached to the trunk of a tree. A branch can feel restricted because of this, but if it breaks off into “freedom,” it has nothing but a future of death.
“Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”— John 15:2
The fruit of a branch is what people enjoy, what benefits.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”— Galatians 5:22-23
A lot can be learned from branches.
Staring at branches is so peaceful because branches are one of the least anxious things. You don’t see the branches of a grapevine exclaiming, “AHHH! Make grapes!!!”
Branches also don’t go around saying, “Hey, look! I made grapes!” Of course it made grapes, it’s a branch, that’s what branches do. The same goes for people who brag.
Branches are so good at just existing, like how we should be resting in the Lord.
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”— Psalms 46:10
Céline Mutzke says that she struggles to be still and hear God’s voice in a world and a mind that speaks loudly and constantly. “This really comes from a deeper urge to feel the need for control,” she said. “When we try to take control, we can quickly throw stillness and peace out the window and say hello to anxiousness, discontentment, and the loud hum of the world’s constant and overwhelming noise. What does it look like for us to truly ‘be still’ and focus on the only direction given in this verse: know that He is God. What a comfort it is to understand that I don’t have to control the noise of the world!”
In crazy storms when leaves are turned upside down, branches just hang on. That’s your one job if you only do one thing: to permanently relax in Jesus.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
— John 15:1-11
This is especially important because of what is predicted in Matthew 24. Among signs of the end of the age, Jesus commands to “see that no one leads you astray” because many will fall away, further confirmation that your one job is to hold fast to God. HOLD FAST, because Jesus is returning for His church!
- Are there ways that you have been living as a detached branch? How can you reconnect?
- What habits can you form to permanently relax? –> Our culture trains us to constantly switch from one thing to another. Practice resting, thinking on one thing.
To read in the presence of a tree: Psalm 1, Psalm 16, and John 15
To practice: stopping to look at nature