The illustration Jesus provides His apostles (and) His disciples is classic: Jesus is the vine, we are the branches, and His Father in heaven is the vinedresser.
Each of those elements is dependent upon the others, and no fruit will happen on the earth without each being in proper relationship to the others.
How amazing it is God and Jesus would condescend themselves to their followers choosing to remain their followers.
What it means to be in relationship with the Father Who is in heaven is to be in relationship with the Son by relationship with the Holy Spirit who is in relationship with the Father and with the Son. The Father and the Son abide in One Spirit, and we abide in that Spirit when we abide in Christ.
Obviously, this has NOTHING to do with religion, religious practice, or good works done to attempt to appease God. Indeed, God has declared through the prophet Isaiah we can nothing do to earn His favor. He loves us because He IS love, not because we have earned His love. Our ‘job,’ if it could be termed so, is to be aware of His love, and to remain aware of His love.
To ‘remain,’ or to ‘continue’ in His love is what it means to abide.
The branch is naturally attached to the vine. It is not the choice of the branch to exist. The branch exists because of the vine. It makes no sense for the branch to continue to seek to exist apart from the vine because it cannot. All nutrients required for the continued existence of the branch are provided freely by the vine, and without the sustenance provided by the vine the branch has no chance for survival. The branch simply cannot survive on its own.
The beauty is, if the branch remains attached to the vine, not only will the branch survive and thrive, fruit will develop. No work will be required by the branch for this to occur. You never see a branch straining to produce fruit. It naturally occurs as long as the branch abides in the vine. Interestingly, if the branch is removed, branch has no fruit, the vine has no fruit, and the vinedresser had no fruit.
Jesus has made Himself dependent upon us just as we make ourselves dependent upon Him.