4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. John 15:4 (NKJV)
If we want to bear fruit we need to learn to abide. If we approach the metaphor from the perspective of agriculture it is clear that branches that are not connected to life giving vines cannot produce fruit, even though for a season we may be able to produce a semblance of life.
For example, one spring I cut down a large willow tree. I left a four foot portion of the trunk lying on the patio. In a couple of weeks small leaves appeared on the side of the prone trunk. There was the remnant of life in the trunk, but in a few days the leaves withered. The trunk was no longer connected to life giving roots.
Beyond the obvious practical need to abide to produce life, we need to know how to abide. With that in mind I will look at one tool to aid in abiding, our imagination. Isaiah said something very interesting and I have included a couple of translations to bring out the shades of meaning in this verse.
3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)
3 You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. Isaiah 26:3 (AMP)
3 An imagination supported Thou fortifiest peace -peace! For in Thee it is confident. Isaiah 26:3 (YLT)
The Amplified translation brings out the idea of inclination and character while Young’s Literal Translation correctly informs us that the Hebrew word here for ‘mind’ actually refers to our imagination, or more specifically how our thoughts are formed. Our thought life is a powerful tool to deepen our walk with Jesus or draw us away. So, allow me to take the presentation in the different translations above further and offer my own.
3 You will keep him in deep peace, Whose imagination is fixed upon You, Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3
The idea here is the need to take control of our thought
life. Doing this requires that we be intentional regarding the use of our mind.
My friend Evelyn used to warn me, and others, of the need to avoid passivity in
our thought life. We are in a spiritual battle and when we let down our guard
and let our thoughts wander we cease to abide. If we recognize what is
happening we have an opportunity to pull our thoughts back. When we fix our
thoughts on Him He responds by imparting peace to our hearts.