John 15:4 – 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. (NIV)
When I was serving in the American Navy, one thing I noticed through my travels was that the ship we sailed on was for us America. When in a foreign land, one could always come back on the ship and essentially be in America. The ship was not just a piece of moving America because it was owned by that country. It was not just a piece of moving America because the American flag flew on it. Ownership and identity with the flag did help, but what really made that ship America was the crew. We had a very diverse collection of people from around the country. It was this collection of people who were united that made the ship truly America when we were no longer in America.
Is one a Christian just because one belongs to a church? Is one a Christian just because one may wear a cross around one's neck? No, the true Christian is one who has Christ abiding within. No matter where Christians may go, they are still Christians because Christ is there with them. Without Christ in one's life, nothing that is said or done will make one a Christian. With Christ in our lives, we can go anywhere and still know that we belong to the kingdom of heaven, that we are children of God most High, and that we are joint-heirs with the King of Kings. It is He who resides within us who makes us who we are.
Prayer: Glorious God, abide in each one of us, so that we may be vessels you can send out into the world, and so those who see us will know to whom we belong. In Jesus' name. Amen.