This post is by my friend, Meredith of The Wicket Gate. Her honestly always challenges me and exhorts me to deeper intimacy with God. I hope today’s post does the same for you.
If you were to look at my life over the last couple of months – if you were to really go at it with a microscope, a fine tooth comb, or whatever other metaphor you pleased – you would find very little evidence in it of an intimate relationship with God.
In fact, you would find almost none.
Oh, you would have seen me praying in my church prayer meeting or reading good, Christian blogs, or singing along to the Christian radio…
In fact, if you looked surface-level it would have appeared that my walk with Christ hadn’t faltered at all.
But intimacy with God is different from surface actions. Intimacy with God comes from a relationship that is life defining and moment changing.
It comes from what Jesus called in John 15, “abiding,” and with it comes a joy that He calls “full.”
With every allegedly necessary step I took away from abiding and toward the anxious feeling of doing more and being busier, I experienced less and less of that joy.
Maybe you’ve been there. After all, this life certainly is full of busy seasons. Kids, jobs, ministry… these things all need our attention!
But, looking back at John 15, we know that God never wants us to fill our lives so full that we push Him out, even in the busiest of seasons and even for the most important work. In verse 4, Jesus said, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
What a word picture!
We would never assume that a branch would be able to survive all right by itself away from the vine (you know, since it won’t be that long and the poor little branch just has a lot to do!). Yet we think that we can stop abiding in our Lord for just a little while with no serious consequences – just until our kids are older or we finish this project or whatever our current situation looks like.
But Jesus also said in verse 5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Without that joy and strength that comes from really being in tune with our Heavenly Father and what He plans for us, all of our work, all of our schemes, all of our busyness is frivolous nothingness.
It is all a big, fat waste.
Psalm 127:1 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.”
I don’t want to waste my time being busy over nothing anymore. I don’t want to be a branch ripped off of the vine, unable to produce fruit. I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to hear God’s direction in all the big and small moments of my life. And I am so tired of my joy not being full.
Yet, the busy season is far from over! How can I possibly abide in Christ in this moment? How can you abide in Christ in whatever situation you find yourself in?
Diving into God’s Word.
Reading the Bible is our chance to hear God speaking. 2 Timothy 3:16 says that, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” The Bible is made up of pages and pages of God’s own words, written for us.
What better way to grow closer to Him? Yet, somehow, when the time crunch hits, quality time in the Bible is one of the first things to go.
Pray without ceasing.
That one is a direct quote of 1 Thessalonians 5:17. To build an intimate relationship with our Lord, we have to have a constant attitude of prayer. All of the good things, all of the bad things, all of the silly things, and the worrisome things, God wants to hear them all!
I am excited to start coming again before the throne of the Holy God, knowing that He delights in my being there.
Take a hard look at priorities.
Matthew 6:33 tells me to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness,” yet I know that God, His Kingdom, and His righteousness have somehow fallen a bit lower than first on my priority list.
Abiding in Christ is a choice we have to make every day. God never takes a step away from us and yet so often we walk away from Him, filling our mind, time, and energy with anything and everything else.
I pray that each of us finds the time in our busy schedules today to walk closely with our God.
Meredith is the wife of an amazing husband, a student teacher to some goofy 1st graders, an avid reader and baker, and a servant of the King of Kings. She blogs at The Wicket Gate, a project started with her husband to help Christians see every moment in life, big or small, through the lens of Biblical truth. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!