Jesus describes himself as the true vine in whom, if we abide, we receive spiritual, life-giving nourishment necessary to produce fruit (John 15:1-3). With this image, Jesus gives a twofold command: “Abide in Me, and I in you” (John 15:4). In the previous chapter of John, Jesus replied to the question of Judas, (not Iscariot), by saying, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23). Once one obeys the words of Jesus by believing (John 8:24), repenting (Luke 13:3, 5), confessing (Matthew 10:32; 16:15-17), and being baptized (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16), then one is in Christ. Baptism is the culminating act that places one into Jesus beginning a new spiritual life (Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:26-28; Colossians 2:11-13).
The command Jesus gives intertwined with abiding in him is to let him abide in you. Jesus further explains what he means in John 15:7-8, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” The words of Jesus must abide in us; we are truly the disciples of Jesus by abiding in his words (John 8:31).
Colossians 3 is an amazing chapter in this regard; it is practical, instructing us in daily living that shows Christ is in us. Colossians 3:17 tells us to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly in all wisdom. Some call themselves Christians but seem to try to get by with the bare minimum of His words each week. His words must dwell in us richly. As Christians, our lives are hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). Remember, we have died to sin to be raised with Christ. Christ is our life (Colossians 3:4). There are many sins listed in Colossians 3:5-9 that we must put to death and put off. However, Colossians 3 does not merely contain a list of don’ts. In rearing children, it is effective to redirect their thoughts and energy to something productive rather than merely telling them “No” to unwanted behaviors. So our heavenly Father does with us; we not only put off the old man (Colossians 3:9), but also put on the new man (Colossians 3:10). This involves putting on “tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Colossians 3:12-14).
Making sure that Christ abides in us will help us to be better spouses, parents, children, employers, employees, etc. as Colossians 3:18 and the verses following show. There is a lot of evil around us in the world today. How can we overcome this encompassing evil? A Christian overcomes evil done to him with goodness (Roman 12:21); the love Jesus has shown even extends to enemies (Luke 6:27, 35; 22:49-50; 23:34). Having Jesus in our hearts will help us resist other temptations as well. The best way to keep the devil out of our hearts and lives is to keep the Lord Jesus Christ in.