Sunday, 25 January 2009

Abiding vs. Abstracting

If you are a follower of Jesus, is this how you understand the way you do the spiritual life? (1:51)

Or is it more like this? (3:56)

I don't know about you, but one of my dangers is that I slip into seeing myself like the fighter jet in the first video - as an essentially independent human being who willingly contracts out my services to God and who, at intervals, comes to him for refueling so that I can go out and serve him better.

This is wholly inadequate and I think heretical, because, amongst other things, it can lead me to the belief that the spiritual life is about the maintenance of disciplines and routines under my own efforts and pays too little attention to the cultivation of a constant relationship that the Father, Son and Spirit have brought us into with them.

It is true that I need to eat, drink, sleep and breath in order to maintain myself alive.  But to say that life is just about eating, drinking, sleeping and breathing is wholly inadequate.  

I need to read my bible, pray, fast, attend Christian meetings in order to stay spiritually alive, but to say that the spiritual life is the maintenance of these routines is wholly inadequate too.

Jesus did not save me to be a fighter jet, he saved me to be a grafted branch.  He did not save me for independence but for dependence solely on him. Grafted branches don't log-on (no pun intended) to get their sap and then pop off to go and bear fruit elsewhere.  They bear fruit by remaining permanently attached to the root.

I want be like the mango branch in the second video - learning to know and live in step with the Spirit of God naturally, organically - not as my personal trainer, whom I make appointments with, but as my constant companion - seeking and depending on his lead on every situation, and following him in whatever he says - every minute of every day as he fixes my eyes on Jesus to the glory of God the Father.

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