Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Abiding: Holy Inactivity

In John 15 (ESV), Jesus makes the analogy of a vine and branches.  As the vine draws its nourishment from the branch, so Christians need to draw our sustenance from Christ.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you,that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

One way to think of abiding in Christ is the practice of the Logos Prayer.  How better to let Jesus' words abide in you (v.7) , than to meditate on them?  By sitting quietly, repeating God's Word in your heart, you abide in the word, and you allow it to abide in you.

To abide is to rest, to live, to dwell.  This holy inactivity isn't laziness.  On the contrary, it's from our times of resting that we receive the wisdom and energy we need in order to perform the many tasks to which God has appointed us. Abiding in the Word cleanses you from the world's dirt and grime (v.3).  It helps you to share God's cleanness with others, because it's only when the Word abides in you that you have it to give to those around you.

Contemplative Prayer is also abiding.  When you simply sit in God's presence, silently soaking in your nourishment from the Branch, you grow to be a healthy vine.  The vine doesn't struggle to suck its life from the branch--it simply abides, and lets the branch fill it.  In contemplative prayer, we simply abide in Christ, allowing Him to fill us, feed us, complete us.

I hope that you'll practice Contemplative Prayer and meditation on God's Word every day.  By doing so, you abide in Christ, and you allow Him to abide in you.  And the fruit of that kind of holy inactivity is sweet!

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