Listen to me with your eyes
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.... As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. -John 15:3-5, 9 (ESV)
What is this "Abide" thing? How do we do it? Steve Lampkin (or "Puff" as he is known to his kids and grandkids) shared some of his perspective on the topic this week (https://www.convoynwa.org/audio/2019/3/7/listen-to-me-with-your-eyes). He talked some about scripture and he talked some about prayer, but his emphasis was not on activities that we are to participate in. Rather, the emphasis was on spending time with the Father. He called it a passionate intentionality toward solitude with God, which helps us relate to the Father, renew our souls, and regain our clarity of purpose.
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” -Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
The example Steve used was when he reminds his grandchildren of his desire to interact with them without any devices or distractions. "Listen to me with your eyes!" means I would like you to be present with me, fully engaged, right here, right now. Could it be that our God desires the same of us?
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. -Hebrews 12:1-2a (NIV)
We live in a world that is performance-driven: "Let's boil it down - what do you want from me?" When we allow that mentality into our relationships, they become scarcely more than a business transaction. The LORD has way more interest in being with us than in anything we may do for Him. As for skill sets, loving God is more valuable than avoiding sin (though I will likely stumble into the latter while learning the former).
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. -Jeremiah 29:13 (ESV)
Yes, there are spiritual disciplines that are helpful in putting myself in the presence of the Almighty. But they are not the end, only a means to it. The end is to know my Father well enough that I'll fall in love with Him. Which leads to a desire to spend more time with Him, thinking about Him even when I'm not "thinking about Him", and, step by incremental step, becoming more like Him in my view of the world around me.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. -Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)
We will not perfect Abiding in this lifetime, but it is necessary to start down the path of Abiding if we're ever going to make sense of Convoying or Transferring. I can't give away something I do not have. We will talk further on these matters. For now, the assignment is to consider Steve's TIPS - Trust, Intentionality, Priority, Solitude. How do these relate to abiding and what does that look like for you?