Abiding is not a value held in esteem in our current culture of rush to get someplace and get stuff done. “Keep things moving along” is the general sentiment. Relationship does not grow in the currents of rush.
Abiding is one of those words that is used so much in our Christian vernacular that our imaginations glaze over with the mere mention of the word. A fresh inspiration around this imperative could be of help.
An example. When I go to a movie, I abide with the entire experience. I am engaged, sometimes even a bit transfixed. Seeing, hearing, wondering, feeling, emoting – I am “all in” so to speak. This metaphor provides a bit of stimulation to imagining a spirituality of abiding, with the caveat that life is not usually as intense as a movie and we progress over time. Slowly. And that is a grace too. The other option sounds exhausting.
Jesus’ imperative to us is to abide, remain, keep to, stay present, attentive to the subject at hand. God is always the subject in our lives.
Three fundamental realities beckon our abiding: Jesus, his Word, and one another. Three blogs to imagine a spirituality of abiding.
First, abiding in Jesus.
Union is the relational impact of our life in Christ. We are “oned” with Father, Son and Spirit. Amazing.
As the Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son, so the Son is in us and we in the Son (see John 14, 15, and 17). In the Son we are also unified with the Father. In 1 John 4 John says that we are in the Father and the Father is in us. The Spirit is the binding agent in this relational reality we find ourselves in. It is very beautiful.
Jesus says, do not wander from this holding love of the Trinity. A growing awareness of Jesus’ abiding presence in and with us is the grace to avoid wandering.
What are the dynamics that facilitate one’s staying present to this Triune God? What distracts? I don’t take the newspaper with me to the movie theatre. I show up and am ready to be there with the story line of the movie. Yet, I sure am creative at importing all sorts of distractions, disruptions and wanderings into this abiding life. What are your particular distractions?
How might one respond to Jesus’ abiding presence during the ins and outs of any given day, in any place, at any time?
The implication of an un-abiding life is that our life is not up to anything of substance on our own, “for without me you can do nothing,” he warns. Nothing is not a little bit of something. Its nothing. We don’t “figure out” this abiding way. We are taught by Jesus. How is he teaching you this way?
What has he shown you, that is particular to you, that he uses to expand your capacity to be aware of he in you and you in he?
How might that, whatever that is, be increased or expanded, that he may deepen your abiding? Might I encourage you to give greater swaths of time to that?
What does a branch on a vine do?
Great question. You’v got me ruminating…..
In the metaphor Jesus gives us, the branch’s focus in on the vine, not the fruit. No vine, no fruit. A branch receives nourishment from the vine (it also carries the exact same DNA). As the nourishment flows into the branch the bench grows, strengthens and beautifies (think leaves and curly little smaller batches). From all that the fruit in time comes. And from that juice and wine – clear biblical signs of God’s blessing. That is my sense of what a branch “does.”
I like it, movie analogy really helpful. Funny, don’t take a newspaper to movie! Well done.Sitting in any lounge in Cairo headed to Armenia! Nairy
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Bless you Nairy. May you be met around every corner of life by he who abides with you.
Abiding – to be at home – implies to me a relaxation, a letting down or a letting go. One way for me has been to intentionally stop myself when I catch myself fretting or trying to figure something out. I try to tell myself to just relax, to let it go, to use it as a catalyst for shifting my thoughts toward the beauty of him who invites me to cast all my cares on him. A parallel practice I am working on is, throughout the day, whenever anything arrests my attention, catches my eye, brings a tear, whatever – I intentionally stop and acknowledge the giver of every good gift. Not so much on the gift itself, but the beautiful one who offers it.
Wow, Dave, these examples of how you have been taught to abide is so helpful to share with the rest of us. Thank you. We all need models in this relational dynamic. Blessing brother. SS
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