Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me. (John 15:4-5)
We cannot obtain true righteousness without Christ. All of our efforts will be fruitless unless we are abiding in Christ. But if we abide in him, his righteousness will flourish within us. The phrase “in Christ” repeats throughout the New Testament and refers to the spiritual union Jesus desires to share with us. When Jesus spoke of the coming of the Holy Spirit, he said, “On that day you will realize that I am in my father, and you are in me, and I am in you. (John 14:20) The reason Jesus gave his life was not only to forgive our sin but to reside within us. When we live in communion with Christ, his righteousness flourishes within and without.
Lord Jesus Christ, teach me to continually abide in you so that the fruit of righteousness might grow in me.
If you are struggling with habitual sin, perhaps you have not yet learned to abide in Christ. Abiding in Christ does not happen naturally but is something that must be learned and practiced. Thankfully, Jesus already desires to abide with us, so there is no deficiency on his part. Also, if you have confessed Jesus as Lord, the Holy Spirit already resides within you, so you already have what is needed to abide. All that remains is for you to learn to intentionally abide. Abiding in Christ means that we are continually mindful of his presence, that we willingly open ourselves to him each day, and that we communicate with him as we live throughout the day. The result of this constant communion is the fruit of righteousness, a life that is pleasing to God and a joy to us. So do this right now! Ask Christ to abide within you! And once you have cut a pathway to the feet of Christ, walk on it so that it becomes a well-worn path.