Monday, April 18, 2011

“Abide in me”

In the allegory of the vine and branches, the Savior said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman” (John 15:1). He goes on to say, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch and is withered….If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:5-7). 
What is the Savior teaching us through the imagery of a vine and branches? From a vine, branches draw the nourishment and strength that they need to live and produce fruit. Cut the branches off from the vine and they wither away, die, and produce nothing. Earlier in His teachings Christ referred to himself as living water (John 4:13-14), the bread of life (John 6:3), and the light of the world (John 8:12)—all of which are necessary for life. Just as  vine provides sustenance to the branches, Christ provides everything we need to sustain us spiritually. 
In this simple allegory, Christ also declares that He is the true vine (John 15:1). If He is the true vine, then there must also be false vines in the world. What is a false vine? Any doctrine, philosophy, practice, persuasion, or person who is not of Christ must be a false vine. We can choose to be a branch of the true vine, or we can choose to be the branch of any number of worldly vines; however, there is only one way to Eternal Life. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).The only vine which can spiritually sustain us in our journey through mortality and provide lasting peace, safety, happiness, and growth, is Christ.
Christ also invites us to abide in Him as a branch abides in the vine. How do we do that? To abide in Him there must not be any distance between Him and us, we must permanently be a part of Him. On another occasion He asked, “What manner of men ought ye to be?” (3 Nephi 27:27). He then answered the question by saying, “Even as I am.” Only as we strive to follow His example do we abide in Him. The promise of the Master is that if we abide in Him in this way we will receive all the strength that we need to flourish spiritually. We cannot do it on our own. As we abide in Him, He also promises us the blessing of His love; He says, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love” (John 15:10).
By abiding in Him, we will receive everything we need. With the nourishment and strength of His grace and the blessing of His love, is there anything we should not be able to do?

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