Abiding in His shadow. What an exquisite place to be! This is the same place as what Jesus described to us here: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5, NKJV).
There is an intimate connection between abiding and fruit-bearing. Psalm 91 emphasizes the protection benefit of abiding. John 15 emphasizes the fruitfulness benefit of the same.
The other day, we talked about learning to walk in Jesus’ protection. Today, Holy Spirit has something else for us about this. As we learn to live in His shadow, fruit is going to result. Specifically, “much fruit.” I have a tree in my yard that took an unusually long time to come up with just one lemon. That is not the spiritual picture Jesus is giving us. “Much fruit” means all sorts of luscious goodness being produced on our branches!
Branches. Yes, Jesus calls us His branches. The implications of this are marvelous. Throughout the Bible, branches are a symbol of refreshing shade and shelter. Here is an example: “Under it will dwell birds of every sort; in the shadow of its branches they will dwell” (Ezek. 17:23, NKJV, emphasis mine). As Jesus’ branches, we get to extend His shelter to others that need it. They will find the refuge of His love when they get around us. Our company will be safe and soothing to them. This is a vital aspect of our fruitfulness as we abide in Him.
I am amazed when I consider another application of this truth, in the example of our brother Peter. He had heard from Jesus’ lips that he would do even greater works than His Master (John 14:12). He took Jesus at His word, and so should we. Peter saw how healing flowed through his Teacher’s life. He heard Jesus say that the same healing power should flow through his. In the book of Acts we see him walking in it.
“…They brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed” (Acts 5:15-16, NKJV, emphasis mine).
Peter had learned to abide in Jesus. As a result, he was bearing much fruit. As he learned to abide in the shadow of the Most High, his own shadow had become a blessing to others.
Abide in Him today. Abide in His love. Dwell in His secret place. Drink deeply of His love for you, and you will see that it will overflow into the lives of others who so desperately need it. They will want to hang out in your shadow.
For you personally, what is it like to abide in God? How do you experience it?