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.
Remain. Stay. Wait. Hold. Live. Abide.
This is what Jesus means when He says "remain." It's not like a parent pointing to a spot on the floor and telling the child to stay put. It's more like a parent asking the child to climb up into their lap and listen. Climb up and understand. Climb up and know the love they have for the child.
Remain with Me. Remain in Me.
I also don't think it's some sort of ultimatum like His relationship with us is conditional. Still, He will never force Himself upon us, but He understands the inability we have to be like Him if we are not remaining in Him.
We often struggle with wondering why things with Christ aren't as we suppose they should be. Could it be that we spend too much time asking Christ to abide in us, while we flitter around and do not take the time to abide in Him? Do we take time to bask in His love and presence? Do we submit ourselves in humility to receive the work of His Spirit so that we can then bring forth His fruit?
What then is the danger of not abiding or remaining is Christ? To seek fruit by our own efforts. I've tried this and it left me hungry, empty, and in need of more than man could offer - satisfaction. Only through abiding in Christ and He abiding in me do I find all things fulfilled and all His glory shown best through my fruit.
And this, my friends, can only be done through an act of the will to humble ourselves to the filling of the Spirit so that we may KNOW Christ. There is no greater determination of man. There is no greater thing to do than to abide, remain, in Christ.
Abiding in the Vine then comes to be nothing more or less than the restful surrender of the soul to let Christ have all and work all, as completely as in nature the branch knows and seeks nothing but the vine. Andrew Murray, The True Vine