I wonder if I am in the church’s majority, or minority, when it comes to this Kingdom business of “abiding.”
Does anyone else struggle with this as much as I do?
I mean, I am really lousy at it.
It doesn’t seem like it should be that tough, but if you’re a recovering (and I use that word loosely) workaholic, like I am? The whole concept of “rest” goes down the hard way.
I’m not good at rest. (I stink at it actually.)
I like being busy.
Even when I manage to keep my body still? My mind is, going, going, going. Perhaps that is the curse of being a writer, and one who has been given an “off the charts” measure of creativity. (So Myers & Briggs tells me.)
I once interviewed for a bookeeping job with my church. I had to take one of those canned tests that’s supposed to evaluate your temperment/apptitude for the job. I had the work experience. I’d done the job before, but when the gal came back into the room with my test results? She looked at me like I was crazy and said, “Why in the world would YOU want to do this job?”
I thought, “You’re kidding right? Uh, how about money. Paying bills. You know, stuff like that.”
(I suppose I was looking at her like SHE was the crazy one.)
Well, that’s when she gave me the good-news-bad-news speech. She said they tried to graph my creativity, “But, …the line ran off the page!” She then showed me the door, informing me that from henceforth, I should never waste my time (or anyone else’s I guess) interviewing for repetitive, redundant-type jobs.
My point is this, I always thought “abiding” pretty much meant “doing nothing,” and as I said, I am really lousy at that.
But I have discovered that isn’t what abiding means.
When Jesus said, ” Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” [John 15:4] He was actually telling us to: continue, remain, or stay on.
In his book, Abide In Christ, Andrew Murray wrote,
“There are two natures in the believer, and so two ways of seeking holiness, as we allow the principles of the one or the other nature to guide us. The one is the carnal way, in which we put forth our utmost efforts and resolutions, trusting Christ to help us in doing so. The other is the spiritual way, in which, as those who have did and can do nothing, our one care is to receive Christ day by day and at every step to let Him live and work in us.”
It’s not about our doing, it’s about being. It’s about flow!
As a writer “flow” is a VERY big deal to me. When I’m in “flow-mode,” the words are coming out of my fingertips and onto the keyboard without stress or struggle. I love flow!
Conversely, I can always tell when I am totally “off-track,” because instead of the words flowing, they feel like I am trying to pump them out.
(That means I need to step back, rethink, and cool my jets.)
I am learning, albeit a little late, that our Kingdom Life is all about flow. Letting The Flow of Life, that is the indwelling power of The Holy Spirit, effortlessly flow out of my joy-full serving.
I learned this the hard way.
Crashed and burned my first 90 days on church staff.
I still remember being in my church late one Saturday night. Nothing had gone right all day. I had tried everything I knew, but the problems still weren’t getting solved. I remember throwing my hands in the air, and in total frustration shouting at the ceiling, “I can’t do this!”
Into that silent room came His Still Small Voice whispering, “I know… but I AM going to do it THROUGH you.”
Abiding is about flow. Flow is about, through. Through is about His energy, His power, His life, flowing from our simple, continual—abiding.
LISTEN AND LEARN
You are learning.
This power you need comes from a life of abiding.
It isn’t difficult; not really. As you obey Me, you discover that out of your weakness is flowing, My Life! When you yield, you abide. When you obey, you abide. When you love… and on, and on, it goes.
What is too difficult to understand?
My children become tired and worn out because they still have that childish, “I can do it myself!” spirit on them.
(You know yourself this is true.)
But, you are beginning to see how futile self-effort is, yes?
(Especially in My Kingdom.)
Why do My children think they can do My work without Me? It is impossible, but oh how they try! (…and try, and try, and try.) It is a heartbreak for Me to be left out of so much that My people call “ministry”. They pursue their own agendas, all in My name of course, and so much is mere vanity and pride!
Child, listen and learn…
I AM not a taskmaster! I do not run brickyards! I AM Faithful Shepherd. You will never feel the sting of the whip from My hand!
Come, receive wisdom, understanding what the will of your LORD is. I AM gentle and humble in heart. I give rest to your soul. I AM in front—leading.
If you feel driven?
You can be certain… it’s not Me.
“He gives power to the tired and worn out…” Isaiah 40:29