Joined to the only One that can really help us
"Remain in me, and I will remain in you.
For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine,
and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me."
John 15:4 (NLT)
We all try so hard to do things on our own. We try to be good, and we fail. We try to succeed and we are looking for success in the wrong things. We want to work life out ourselves, finding the answers in our own strength. The problem is that all the time we do it on our own we are practicing being separate from the only One that can really help us. Jesus said if we remain in Him, then He will remain in us, and if He is in us we will be fruitful.
Sometimes it can be hard to explain what Jesus means by "remaining in Him." First, we know it can't mean how much Bible knowledge you have. If that was the case then people who can't read would be further from God than professors, and that is not true. It can't be how much you are paid for doing God's work because that would mean that busy pastors are closer to God than the little street children in Africa. That isn't true either. What does it mean to "remain in Jesus"? I think part of the meaning is staying close to Him in trust. We trust that He is with us and loves us no matter what we have done or what we do. We receive His love. We ask Him to work His ways in us. We love who He is. Your heart can't be distant from someone that you love and I think loving Jesus is a lot about remaining in Him. It's not complicated. He just loves to be loved.
Here's another picture of what I imagine when I think about remaining in Jesus. Have you ever spent time with a family that really love each other and invite you into that love? That's a bit what it's like with the family of God. The Father loves his Son Jesus, and they love the Holy Spirit. They all love each other and they say to us, "Come! Be a part of our family of love! Remain in our house with us! We enjoy each other. enjoy us! Please don't leave because we love you and want you with us and if you stay with us your life will overflow with good things!" All we have to do is receive the hospitality of Father, Son and Holy Spirit and enjoy what they give us. Then it will flow all through our life and spill over into the lives of others. Isn't their invitation beautiful?