Abiding in Christ is simply staying near a friend who loves you. But what happens to a person who abides in Christ? If I really walk with him, what will he do to, through, and for me? In John 15:17, the gospel writer identifies five grace gifts that flow directly from abiding in Christ.
The first gift is growth in Christ.
The first grace gift that comes from abiding in Christ is growth in Christ. John 15:2 says, "Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit." When Jesus talks about fruit, he's talking about our becoming more like him. God promises to transform you from your own image into the image of Christ. That's fruit. Bearing fruit relates to Galatians 5:22, where Paul explains that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
How does a branch bear fruit? The branch simply stays connected to the tree, and the natural outgrowth of being connected to the tree is growth. Jesus says that the principle applies with a Christian. If you read the Bible two hours a day and fast three days a week; if you're good and pure and righteous and spiritual and honest and sweet and loving and kind; if you go to church every time the doors are open; if you have a big, black Bible that you carry everywhere you goit won't amount to a hill of beans. You'll wither if you're not connected.
One of the most dangerous lies that Christians have believed is that production produces acceptance. We have been conditioned to believe that if we hustle enough, if we produce enough, if we sell enough, then our bosses or our parents or our spouses will love us. To that God ...
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