Jesus offers the best metaphor for what it means to grow. In John 15, Jesus tells his disciples, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5, ESV)
The word Jesus uses for abide comes from this Greek word meno. Meno means abide, dwell, remain, stay, continue to live with. Given the metaphor that Jesus uses here, he most certainly means to stay connected to the vine because disconnected branches literally stop producing grapes rendering them useless to a vinedresser.
Relatedly, meno can also mean to persist, endure, or last, which dovetails with Jesus’ admonishments. We can almost become passive when thinking of what it means to abide or remain in Christ. However, a careful reader of Scripture could intuit that if “remaining” were that easy, Jesus wouldn’t have wasted such a beautiful metaphor to teach his disciples nor would John have selected this one tidbit from hundreds of Jesus’ teachings that didn’t make the cut.
To abide in Christ is to take up residence within him…but it looks like persistence and endurance. Why? Because getting detached from the vine has always been easier than staying connected to it. ..and, apparently, the broader cultural context has rarely been conducive to the task of keeping God’s people connected to him. Our persistence matters. Our endurance matters. Our capacity to last matters.
For this reason, we’ve curated a set of practices to help us persist. These practices are aimed at deepening our relationship with Christ and helping us cooperate with the Spirit’s work to conform us to the image of Christ.
Think of faith practices or disciplines like a workout routine. Growth requires consistency. Growth requires increasing resistance and/or reps. …and sometimes, when we discover that the same workout routine is no longer benefiting us, growth requires a refresh in our routine to better grow or tone a muscle or to deal with new things like an upcoming adventure, injuries, aging, etc.
What we hope is that you take up 1-2 practice(s) with the aim of persisting in union with the Christ who poured himself out, specifically, for a relationship with you. As you do, we pray that the spirit of Christ stirring within you spills out into deeper worship, deeper character (spiritual, moral, and emotional maturity), deeper relationships, deeper service, deeper generosity, deeper witness, deeper impact, and, most importantly, deeper faith, hope, and love.
Contact your campus discipleship pastor for questions, guidance, or additional resources and practices.