5 Abiding in Christ Essentials from John the Apostle

Mark Furlong
9 min readFeb 27, 2023

This is How Jesus’ Closest Friend Said to Live with Jesus

Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash

In John 15:5, Jesus revealed the most important process for living the best life possible. It is life at the very highest level. Jesus called it “abundant life” and that is an extension of the eternal life that we receive the instant we put our faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord. (John 10:10, John 17:3)

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

This is THE KEY

Abiding in Jesus is THE MOST IMPORTANT process for bearing “much fruit”; according to Jesus and being fruitful in life is one of God’s biggest desires for everyone of us. According to the Son of God, it is the will of God that we “bear MUCH fruit.”

God wants us to experience high levels of the love, joy, peace and other “fruits” of the Spirit guided life. He wants us to be fruitful in knowing Him and growing in Him and in living His purposes and plans.

Please receive those words, “God wants you to experience Jesus empowered fruitful, abundant, overflowing life.

The biggest key; abiding in, remaining in, living from and for Jesus.

Simply put, from God’s perspective, with Him, we bear much fruit; apart from Him, we can do nothing.

As often as I’ve studied, meditated on, and prayed those words I’ve found I still need to remind myself of that reality on a regular basis. From God’s true and perfect perspective, only by abiding in Jesus can I bear good fruit.

Simple and Deep

Abiding in Jesus is super simple.

Abide means “remain.” John 15:5 is translated in some versions as “remain in Me, and I in you.” When we receive Jesus, we are spiritually “in Him” and He is “in us”. We don’t have to make ourselves work to get in Him and He in us, that is already done by God. We just have to remain, abide.

That’s about as simple as it gets, right?

But because this is a living connection with the unlimited Creator, it has never ending depth and dimensions. And each of those dimensions releases a greater measure of the life Jesus has already made available to us.

It is a never-ending process of growing in the knowledge of Him, experiencing His life, and sharing that life with those around us.. As with so many things in God’s kingdom, it is amazingly simple, but limitless in how deep we can go.

The Big Question is, how do we do it?

What is our part in abiding in Christ?

To find answers to that question I went to the writings of John. Why John, specifically?

Because John writes far more about it than anyone else in the entire Bible.

He dominates the search terms “abide”, “abides” or “abiding.” It’s not even close.

In other writings I go deeper into John 15 abiding insights, but here we’re going to briefly go over the 5 main ways John said we can abide or remain or keep living out of the life and person of Jesus in his first letter.

This is going to be brief. Each of these topics has a lot to them.

I’m just going to basically list them with a few short comments to give you an OVERVIEW of the “abiding” keys found in 1 John. We will go deeper into each one in other writings and/or, of course, you can study them yourself.

You will see some of the same verses given in several of the abiding keys because some verses address more than one practice.

1. Believe in Jesus.

“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in Him, and he in God.” 1 John 4:15

As all New Testament messengers understood, John emphasized over and over again that the first step in connecting with God, receiving forgiveness for our sins, and the gift of eternal life was simply believing the Gospel of Jesus, especially faith expressed with our verbal confession. (Romans 10:9–10)

Verbal confession of faith not only reveals what is in our heart, but it can also be a way to strengthen our faith. It’s a divine cycle of faith.

We confess Jesus is the Son of God because we believe that is true and as we confess His word, it strengthens our faith and our connection.

Helping people believe in Jesus was the main goal of John’s Gospel, because believing is God’s way of receiving eternal life.

“Therefore, many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written, so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:30–31)

Step 1 in abiding in Christ: believe in Christ.

2. Internalize God’s Word

“As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.” (1 John 2:24)

“The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him.” (1 John 3:24a)

We do not keep God’s commandments in order to earn eternal life or God’s promises, but God’s commandments, flowing out of His perfect nature, are His guidelines on how He designed us to live. So the more we get His words in us and act on them, the more we will “experience” His blessings.

Plus, internalizing Jesus’ words is absolutely essential if we want to know Him, experience Him, and walk with Him. Jesus and His words are one. (John 1:10)

To abide in Christ means internalizing His words: making His words part of us.

John addresses this in another way, referring to the anointing of the Holy Spirit teaching us God’s words as key to living from Jesus here:

“As for you, the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you have no one to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.” (1 John 2:27)

As the Holy Spirit teaches us about Jesus and God’s truth found in Scripture, as we grow in that knowledge, more of Jesus is manifested in us and we go deeper in our abiding in Christ experience.

3. By the Holy Spirit

“By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” (John 4:13)

The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given.” (1 John 3:24)

The Holy Spirit is the member of the Trinity who comes inside us and makes us new creations, fills us, and flows through us and out of us with the divine nature.

Without His on-going presence in us and with us, we would never understand anything from Scripture, we would not have eternal life, and we could not abide or remain connected to Jesus.

For the Apostles, receiving the Holy Spirit is HUGE. As important as solid Biblical teaching is, receiving and living in the Spirit makes everything work in the life of a Jesus follower.

Receiving and living in the power of the Holy Spirit is essential for an ongoing relationship with Jesus.

The Spirit will always glorify the Father and the Son and by His presence, we too can know that we are in a living, abiding, fruit-producing relationship with Jesus, the Vine.

4. Receiving and Giving God’s Love

“No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He is us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” (1 John 4:12–13)

“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in Him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in Him.” (1 John 4:15–16)

We know loving God and our neighbor as ourselves is the Greatest Commandment.

We come to Christ as we recognize His love for us. We believe in His love and that leads us to Him.

As we receive His love, we abide in Him, and then we express the love of God we’ve received by loving people.

Loving God and people keeps the abiding presence of Christ flowing. If we stop loving, we clog up the life flow of the Spirit. That’s why John also wrote,

“But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in Him?” (1 John 3:17)

This is another example of why Jesus taught about “abiding”. The “remaining in Him” relationship must be cultivated and protected. This verse tells us it is possible to “close our heart” against people; especially those in need. If we do that, then we restrict the love of God, the abiding life of Christ in us and through us.

Abiding in God’s love is essential for abiding in Christ and practically loving others is a big part of keeping the pipeline open.

5. Practicing Righteousness

Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.” (1 John 2:28–29)

“No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in Him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God; by this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious; anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.” (1 John 3:9–10)

When we are born again by the Word and the Spirit, we receive a new nature. It’s this new man, this new nature in our spirit that cannot sin. That is great news. God has gifted us His righteousness, His divine nature, His love in our spirit, the core of who we are.

But we are well aware that our mind and emotions are not made brand new at conversion. The New Testament teaches over and over again that our minds and souls need to be renewed, renovated, washed, and trained.

So, the more we practice righteousness, the more we get free from practicing sin, the more we live in the on-going, abiding relationship with Jesus.

Everyday I get to practice (not be perfect) right living; living according to God’s teachings. As I practice righteousness, that too helps me experience more of the life of Jesus flowing into me, through me, and out of me to others.

Abiding in Jesus means walking with Him, following Him wherever He goes. When you read the Gospels it’s clear that Jesus did not only spend time alone with the Father in prayer, but He spent much of His time with people.

If we’re abiding in Jesus, that means we too will be out with people, serving them and practicing God’s kind of righteousness towards them.

The Big 5 + The Big One

There you have it. Those are the five keys God showed John regarding how to abide in Jesus.

  1. Believe in Jesus
  2. Internalize God’s Words
  3. Live in the Reality of the Holy Spirit
  4. Receive and Give God’s Love
  5. Practice Righteousness

But there is one more that John doesn’t specifically connect with the word “abide”, that nevertheless, saturates the entire Bible and which John too, gives much writing space to.

It’s the practice of prayer.

“What we have see and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us, and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3)

Fellowship with God is basically using a relational word to describe abiding. It refers to open-heart, open-face, warm interaction, sharing of life. The Bible says the best way to live is to live a life of on-going prayer, “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Believing in Jesus, internalizing God’s words, living in the Spirit, receiving and giving God’s love, and practicing God’s righteousness are all best done by learning to live a life of prayer.

We’ll cover how to do that in other writings, but as we wrap this up, know that there are all kinds of ways to pray but the thread that makes them all Biblical prayer is that you focus on God, you direct your heart and mind to Him.

Don’t “say your prayers.” Instead, focus on and interact with God, the Person.

You can develop an on-going, abiding, remaining, fellowshipping relationship with Jesus all day, every day and as you do, you can bear “much fruit”.

If you want more resources on how to know Jesus, grow in Jesus, and live Jesus’ purposes I invite you to head over to www.TruVineMission.com



Mark Furlong

Author, Coach Helping busy, active people know and live ALL of God’s purposes for their life: the COMPLETE life. www.TruVineMission.com,