Many believers struggle with particular issues in their lives, or it could be that they excel in certain areas. Lots of men pray for become better fathers or husbands. Some people pray to become better at sharing their faith. However, Jesus did not divide up the Christian life into areas that we are to get right one by one. Rather, He said that the successful Christian life is one of abiding in Him. Jesus described it this way in John 15.
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
2 Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.
4 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.
5 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.
6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. [i]
The Christian life is not a compartmentalized step-by-step progression. We should take the Christian life as a whole and not subdivide it. Christ, Himself, is the whole. He is the center. By abiding in Him, all else comes into place. Prayer takes it rightful place. Obedience takes it rightful place. Love takes it rightful place. If we read further in John 15, we see that if we abide in Christ, we can expect to become fruitful as believers. However, we also can expect to suffer. As we abide in Christ and experience suffering, we must depend on the Holy Spirit for guidance and strength.
To abide in Christ, we must submit to the Father pruning out those things that prevent our becoming fruitful such as sin or misplace priorities. We must be in the Word of God. As we learn the Word, we must shape our lives and our thinking to His standards. And, we must be people of prayer. Abiding in Christ is not complicated.
[i] English Standard Version