I couldn’t ever take shots at God’s timing.. because what I’ve purposed to write here segues perfectly after Resurrection Sunday.
Following a celebration of God’s splendorous Love.. now what? Let me polish that: God’s Love is always to be relished and celebrated and is the pervading muse of Christian worship (in Spirit & in Truth). But what about when we descend from the Holy Mountain of Zion. After all the Christian is not swallowed by Heaven whole, they remain here in the flesh.
With the hope of Heaven in-heart, the Christian learns two earthly assignments from the Shepherd Himself.
- Deny the self, bear our cross and follow Him.
- Abide in Him.
Essentially extrapolations of the “two great commandments”, these responsibilities Jesus leaves to His church. Each merits their own conversation, and today I’d like to scribble some thoughts about 2. “Abide in Him” which was also a fulcrum of a recent post “P.S.A.“.
What does it look like to abide in the Vine? What is the practical application? The Why is clear, but how?
I’m fairly confident the modern church will answer this with prayer, scripture, and fasting. But without the Spirit, this translates to: self-therapy, scholarship and dieting. We’ve boiled down this Walk into three undoubtedly essential facets of our spiritual activity. The only thing is there is one word that’s more straight to the point:
The veil between men & God was torn physically & figuratively with the finished work of Christ. The evangelical boldly shouts of the wonders of sins forgiven to the world but neglects what’s even more important: what this triumph nets. The physical veil in the tabernacle separated men from the presence of God, a veil only passed once a propitiation for sin was provided. Jesus, the final propitiation for sin, tore the veil that the presence of God may no longer be divided from us.
When we advise the believer to read, pray and fast; what we are encouraging is communion.
A fast is not a show of devotion to please God. It is a conditioning of the mind to prioritize the Spirit before the flesh, it is a submission of our earthly faculties to the ordinances of the Spirit. Its not diet, a challenge, a chore or a physical expression, its a time of spiritual focus through the neglect of the Spirit’s antagonist (the flesh).
The Reading of Scripture is not for academic boast. Just like the ancient Israelites, the reading of Scripture was to remember God’s words, His statutes and His promises. To know where He stood on certain issues and to experience the timelessness of His counsel. and this goes hand-in-hand with
Prayer. Paul urged the church to pray without ceasing. And this is the meat of this post. I like to think reading and praying is the open dialogue between the believer and the Living God. We bring our selves to Him in the sanctuary of prayer as we communicate our piece to the Prince.
As Lazarus once sat at a table with Jesus, and as Jesus was in perfect union with the Father, Christ has offered us a seat at the table so that we can have tea for two whenever we find that moment to pour a cup.
Paul urged the church to pray without ceasing, which is logistically bananas. But, what if we would take that seat in prayer more often, in all the smaller moments of our day? If we could build that relationship with humble beginnings? Would the larger moments of our lives be easier knowing we have a Friend across the table that we’ve grown accustomed to?
I’d testify that yes, it is possible to rest during storms. I’d also confess that I’ve relinquished these simple truths in a season or two and found myself sinking into waters that were once under my feet. I believe a hallmark of a seasoned Christian is the wisdom to conserve conversation with God by habitual easing in and out of prayer. Let’s pray that we find that place.
Lord You are always there, even in the moments that You go unnoticed. You are faithful even when we are not. And this is just another reason You are worthy of worship and every ounce of oil. By Your Spirit and divine plans, nurture a yearning in us to seek more earnestly Your Face and counsel in every bit of our lives. Occupy our souls, for in You is ever delectable fruit and fulfillment.
God bless you seekers.