Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must
remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you
are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from
me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown
away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you
remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my
disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you
obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands
and remain in his love (John 15:4-10).
As a parent, I am concerned for the safety of my
children. As such, and like so many other families, we have our established rules that
have been made for the purpose of keeping the peace, safety, sanity, and so forth of each
member of the family. One such rule has been that when the children go out to play, that
they must stay within yelling distance. The underlying theory has been that if
they cannot hear us, then they are too far away--too far for us to reach them--too far to
hear what they may need to hear in a time they need to hear it.
What we want for our children is simply for their best. We may not always have the best
ideas on how to bring that about, but we know that with Gods help, we can discover
some of what that is and help our children to discover that as well. This is not a process
that is always easy to figure out, but there is one thing that is very certain and that is
that God has our childrens best interest at heart. Just as God has every one of his
childrens best interest at heart.
It is because of the love that God has for us that He has established rules for us to
follow. The ten commandments, the beatitudes, and so much more has been provided for us to
have a clear understanding of what is necessary for us to do to stay within the boundaries
God has set for us. Perhaps the eleventh commandment could be, You shall stay within
yelling distance. But why would such a rule be necessary? Perhaps because, as we are
His children, it is necessary for us to be in such a place that we can continuously hear
the voice of our Father.
Though such a commandment does not exist, we can see within scripture the principle of,
...stay within yelling distance. Moreover, we see within scripture a principle
that says, get as close as you can to God, Draw near to God, and
Remain with Him even as branches remain with the vine they are a part of.
James tells us, Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you (4:8). In John
15, Jesus explains the principle of remaining in Him, even as a branch must remain in the
vine to continue to draw life through the vine.
Why is it necessary to stay within yelling distance? So that we can hear the
voice of our Father. We must die daily to selfish want; focus our eyes on Christ through
times of Bible reading, meditation on Him, and prayer; and we must turn over to Him the
cares and concerns of our lives. In so doing, we discipline ourselves to remain in
Him--and in the boundaries that He has set up for our best good. And in so doing, we will
remain in a place where we can hear His voice, know His will, and know what it means to
have a rich and abundant life in Christ.