Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Practicing Abiding - How to do anything worth doing.

According to my weblog stats, I have a few international readers. I can't make any assumptions on your part, but I will say this about Americans: We like to get things done. I mean, we at least like to feel like we're getting things done. Xbox only calls them "Achievement Points".

Activity matters to us. We ask people, "What do you do?" Family and school reunions make a lot of noise over what we've done. Did you get married? Where do you work? have you moved away from home? And while some of us might roll our eyes at such meaningless talk, we also feel compelled to prove ourselves by our activity.

Even our rest is active. What did you do on your day off? Went for a hike? Bike ride? Clean the house? Catch up on reading? We might enjoy those things, but accomplishment underlays all of it. I know this is true in my house. We're always doing something. It's a special day when we sit down without an agenda.

While praying this morning, I felt like God called me out on this. It's a habit for me to ask Him what He wants me to do that day. I don't think there's any harm in asking God to guide my steps, but this morning I felt like He said to me, "Hold on a second. Let's hang out. Sit with me for a few minutes." And, well, it was uncomfortable. I could sense the Holy Spirit. I sat there with him, not saying anything or asking any questions. By the end of it, my anxiety faded and we enjoyed each other's company without my push to do something with the time.

This reminded me of John 15, where Jesus said, "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."

Is it possible our drive for activity and accomplishment actually wastes our time? For all the energy put in, do our actions bear fruit? Is it helpful to take what Jesus said as "apart from me you can do nothing worth doing"?

Of course, this doesn't mean people should sit praying and never do anything else. If you try to use this post as an excuse to become lazy, forget it. Lazy people aren't holy. They're lazy.

What do you think it means to Abide? Do you understand it but have a hard time living by it? How do you practice abiding?

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