Abide in Me, and I in You–John 15:4
When a new graft is placed in a vine and it abides there, there is a twofold
process that takes place. The first is in the wood. The graft shoots its little roots
and fibers down into the stem, and the stem grows up into the graft, and what
has been called the structural union is effected. The graft abides and becomes
one with the vine, and even though the vine were to die, would still be one wood
with it. Then there is the second process, in which the sap of the vine enters the
new structure, and uses it as a passage through which sap can flow up to show
itself in young shoots and leaves and fruit. Here is the vital union. Into the graft
which abides in the stock, the stock enters with sap to abide in it.
When our Lord says: “Abide in me, and I in you,” He points to something
analogous to this. “Abide in me”: that refers more to that which we have to do.
We have to trust and obey, to detach ourselves from all else, to reach out after
Him and cling to Him, to sink ourselves into Him. As we do this, through the
grace He gives, a character is formed, and a heart prepared for the fuller
experience: “I in you,” God strengthens us with might by the Spirit in the inner
man, and Christ dwells in the heart by faith.
Many believers pray and long very earnestly for the filling of the Spirit and the
indwelling of Christ, and wonder that they do not make more progress. The
reason is often this, the “I in you” cannot come because the “abide in me” is not
maintained. “There is one body and one spirit”; before the Spirit can fill, there
must be a body prepared. The graft must have grown into the stem, and be
abiding in it before the sap can flow through to bring forth fruit. It is as in lowly
obedience we follow Christ, even in external things, denying ourselves, forsaking
the world, and even in the body seeking to be conformable to Him, as we thus
seek to abide in Him, that we shall be able to receive and enjoy the “I in you.”
The work enjoined on us: “Abide in me,” will prepare us for the work undertaken
by Him: “I in you.”
In–The two parts of the injunction have their unity in that central deep-meaning
word “in.” There is no deeper word in Scripture. God is in all. God dwells in
Christ. Christ lives in God. We are in Christ. Christ is in us: our life taken up into
His; His life received into ours; in a divine reality that words cannot express, we
are in Him and He in us. And the words, “Abide in me and I in you,” just tell us to
believe it, this divine mystery, and to count upon our God the Husbandman, and
Christ the Vine, to make it divinely true. No thinking or teaching or praying can
grasp it; it is a divine mystery of love. As little as we can effect the union can we
understand it. Let us just look upon this infinite, divine, omnipotent Vine loving us,
holding us, working in us. Let us in the faith of His working abide and rest in Him,
ever turning heart and hope to Him alone. And let us count upon Him to fulfill in
us the mystery: “Ye in me, and I in you.”
Blessed Lord, Thou dost bid me abide in Thee. How can I, Lord, except Thou
show Thyself to me, waiting to receive and welcome and keep me? I pray Thee
show me how Thou as Vine undertaketh to do all. To be occupied with Thee is to
abide in Thee. Here I am, Lord, a branch, cleansed and abiding–resting in Thee,
and awaiting the inflow of Thy life and grace.

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