I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine dresser. Every branch of Mine 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.
By this is My Father 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. 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. John 15:1-5, 8-10
I posted last night what impressed me in Jan's talk about experiencing Jesus, that the purpose of the Word is to communicate Jesus, and the purpose of Jesus is to communicate the Father's love. The Word should never be revered for itself, and if we're reading it without allowing it to penetrate our hearts and give us the full benefit of the experience of Jesus Himself, we are completely missing the point. The Word is holy only because it communicates Jesus, and He is holy. Am I right?
But you know, I have to admit that blogging every day about a new passage of Scripture is pushing me a bit. I drove R to school this morning with Small Dog on my mind, feeling a little bit of unwelcome pressure. I'm not used to having significant encounters with God every day, and I felt a bit resistant to it. As I thought about why, I realized it was because I felt like it was up to me to read the Word until something penetrated my thick heart. Somehow it was up to me to make something good lodge in my think skull.
As I thought about that this morning, it dawned on me that I had it backward. I meet with God everyday so He can speak to me. As I've been committed to this daily post project, God has been so faithful to speak to me, no matter how few minutes I have. That is what has struck me. As I've encountered difficulties with L and her schoolwork, or R and his ADD, every day God has been so kind and faithful to lead me to exactly the passage that will soothe the rough seas in my heart, reminding me of His perspective, His protection, His sovereignty, His love. I haven't opened my Bible to go rummage up the verses I knew I wanted to hear that day. He has brought them to me. I'm telling you, I don't know if I can recommend this as a plan, but on many days I've simply opened the Word and BAM, there is the passage right in front of my eyes that speaks to the very moment. That is God speaking to me, not me looking through the Word for the passage that tells me what I want to hear in order to validate my own fat self.
Jan said yesterday, "You can't walk in yesterday's light." Experience Jesus always. I was going to say "daily," but it's more than daily. Experience Jesus constantly. Abide in Him.
This notion of abiding in Christ has been a stumbling block for me in the past. I have wanted Him, wanted to experience Him more fully, that abiding. I have wanted it desperately, and it seemed to elude me. I felt like it eluded me. I eventually gave up on it altogether and told myself that the fuller, maybe more emotional experience of Jesus is not something He has granted to everyone. I will be content to wait until I am with Him in heaven, and until then I will not complain. I will just do my best to obey Him.
But maybe I was looking in the wrong place for Him. Without admitting it even to myself, maybe the emotional experience is all I was looking for. That's the place that feels closed off.
Well, I can't explain all that -- that falls into the category of "things too difficult for me" (Psalm 131:1). But I do know that this commitment to blog every day -- which, by the way, has begun to border on the obsessive-compulsive! -- has brought me closer to abiding in Him than I have been before. I have at various times been committed to reading the Word every day. But blogging requires having something to say about what I've read. It requires more than just reading -- it requires a daily encounter with God. And I think what I am discovering in doing this is that my intimacy with Him is limited only by my willingness, not His.
So today, and again I cannot recommend this as a regular plan, but today I flipped open my Bible and BAM, there is John 14 and 15. Is that or is that not completely relevant to what struck my heart about Jan's talk yesterday? Abide in Me. Experience Me.
O Lord, I tell You I want to abide in You. I don't want to read about You but remain ignorant and obtuse and childish about spiritual realities. I want to know You because I walk and talk with You every day, not because I've spent many years reading and talking about You. Make me sensitive to Your Spirit.
I love You, Lord. Teach me to love You better!