"If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love" (John 15:10). Jesus faithfully obeyed every commandment of His Father and He called that abiding.
Some Christians think they can pick and choose which commandments of Christ to obey. If they don't like what is commanded, they simply ignore it or explain away their disobedience with, "I just don't see it that way; I don't believe it like that." If people do not like a pastor’s call to be holy, they just leave and go looking for a pastor who will accentuate the positive. That is why the terrible plague of apathy is sweeping over the church today. We have been so afraid of works, so riled up about legalism, that we have given obedience a bad name.
How is it possible for a branch in Him not to abide? Jesus said: "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned" (verse 6). Can it be any clearer? Abiding includes rest and responsibility. It is possible to be in Him, connected to the vine, and not have a flow of life with which to bear fruit. Abiding has to do with absolute obedience to the commandments of Christ because every branch has a free will—a life force in it. The branch is not passive; it must draw out the life from the vine. "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you" (verse 7). This brings out that the Word is the Father's pruning knife. How can any branch bear fruit if the Word of the Lord is ignored, unknown, neglected?
We see the fruits of dryness springing up all over the Lord's vineyard—adultery, fornication, drinking, drugs—because the pruning process has stopped with so many. The word of God is His knife, a two-edged sword. The majority of Christians today do not know the Word of God because they do not read it. It is impossible to bear the fruit of righteousness without His Word abiding in you. Neglect of the Word is causing barrenness and bringing a terrible withering to God's people.
The abiding believer is one who loves and fears God, who hungers for the Word and trembles at His power of conviction. He delights in having the Word prune away all hindrances, prays that the very life and likeness of Christ will be ever-increasing in him, and grows more and more mature in obedience and love.