Abiding and Bearing Fruit

Written by Rhonda Boyd Alstott

John 5:5-8 “I am the vine; you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, it is he 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.”


Most of the time, when I think of glorifying God, worship and praise come to mind, but in this last of the seven “I am” statements of Jesus, I find out that bearing fruit is another way that we glorify God.  This comes straight from the mouth of Jesus as he makes his farewell discourse.  In true Jesus fashion, he gives us an allegory of a vine and branches to make His point.  We cannot bear fruit unless we abide in him, and he abides in us.  He also gives the indication that not abiding leads to some pretty serious consequences.


So what does abiding in Jesus really mean?  The Greek word used for abide is meno and it means to remain, dwell, and continue.  Jesus is specific about this when He further says that His words are to abide with us.  There is nothing we can do of eternal value if we are not remaining in Jesus and letting His Word continue in us.  It’s the only way we can bear fruit.  It’s like Jesus is telling me that my relationship with Him is so important that I must safeguard it so I can fully abide in Him.  By doing this, I can grow more in Christlikeness and help further His kingdom.


Maybe the best way I can describe what abiding in Christ really means is to share what it looks like in my life personally:

*I am faithful to study the words of Jesus found in the gospels.  Though often challenging, these words give me concrete examples of who Jesus was and how He loved and dealt with those around Him. 

*Consistent prayer time where I am able to pray “your will, not mine”.  I am able to set aside my personal preferences for the better good of the faith community I live in.

*I am not motivated by fear and have peace knowing that there is nothing that I will go through that He is not there with me.

*My critical spirit demonstrated by contentiousness stays at bay.  This battle of my flesh is only won with my staying connected to Jesus.

*My motivation has less to do with a personal agenda and more to do with a kingdom agenda.

*I have a supernatural love for others that I don’t like, don’t agree with and don’t understand.  As much as I try to do this in my own power, it is a supernatural love that overcomes my personal thoughts and feelings and I in turn am able to pray for God’s best in their lives.

*I am able to forgive others as God has forgiven me. 

*I can work with others in the body of Christ to accomplish the greater good for His kingdom.


I could go on and on, but hopefully you get the picture.  Abiding in Christ enables us to grow up spiritually into disciples that reflect the true heart and nature of Jesus instead of selfish desires.  In Verse 12 of Chapter 15 Jesus commands us to “Love one another”. 


One of the Studies I have done in the past two years was Beth Moore’s Chasing Vines.  She gave us a list of questions that helped us see how we were abiding in Christ.  We were challenged to use them to evaluate the health of the fruit we were growing in our life.  I leave them with you for those looking for a great personal assessment:

*Is my heart growing warmer or colder toward people?

*Am I constantly in a bad mood?

*Am I increasingly exhausted?

*Do I get fixated on offenses, or am I willing to overlook most of them?

*Have I become harsher or gentler over the last year?

*Do I lose control easier?


May you abide in Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith

And May your fruit be filled with the love of Christ, to further His kingdom, not ours……

3 Responses to “Abiding and Bearing Fruit”

  1. William Schuppert says:

    I pray every day that God’s Holy spirit will lead me to a closer relationship with Jesus. And that each day that I be or become a Fruitful Servant to God. My interpretation of being fruitful is bringing those who do not have this relationship with Jesus to accept Him as their personal Savior. Thanks Rhonda for this post.

  2. Pat Peterson says:

    Some very, very good questions. “Being self aware” to acknowledge these things in your heart, and knowing that returning to (abiding in) Jesus will also return you to the good places you are meant to be.

  3. Lu Ann says:

    Well said. I really like the questions at the end…. what a great way to take a temperature ceck

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