I was recently having a very nice conversation about Jesus with someone I had recently met who brought up the subject. And I mentioned “walking with God” and “abiding in Him” — and this noticeably caught them off guard a bit. Even though they had been talking about the differences between the pharisees and the genuine Christians — it seemed afterwards that maybe their idea of the difference between the two was that the Pharisees were zealous and that the Christians were just quiet, peaceable folks who “didn’t push their religion on other folks”. This seems to be a recurring theme for mainstream “spiritualism” in portraying Jesus as a nice, hippie teaching “love, love, love” who is “just one of the many ways to God”.
I wonder if many of us at times in our lives have been most comfortable with the idea of a quiet, sleeping, inactive, almost-dead faith, because it most closely resembles our own journey where we are far from an active relationship with God — not because that is how it is actually described in the Word of God?
Remain in Me, and I [will remain] in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you [bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith] unless you remain in Me.
John 15:4 AMP
I wonder how many folks have bought into the “have you said this”, or “have you been baptized this way”, or “did you ever” checklists to “get out of hell” — instead of the call to active, abiding faith that produces fruit and brings heaven to earth? It seems to me that I didn’t understand or believe or live my life in the latter way for much of my life — that “religion” was an afterthought, like a garnish to make sure was there on the plate, but was never to actually be eaten. But I’ve found that there is so much more than that.
LORD, thank you for awakening us to our need for you daily, even moment to moment. We are your beloved, not an estranged side piece that you call up once in a while when you need some extra attention. We are your bride. Forgive us for those times in our lives when we have not treated you with the same devotion and love. Forgive us for when we have been distracted by circumstances, feelings, people, passions, desires, pride and temptations to seek after other things first in our lives. Thank you for wooing us with your great love that sets us ablaze with a fire that drives us forward in your purpose and will for our lives. Thank you for using these vessels of clay to accomplish amazing things, but even moreso for the opportunity we have to the abundant life of a restored walk with you. Our walk with you is not the “good intentioned imaginings” that the faithless spiritualist might describe as a helpful practice towards self- enlightenment and self- improvement — you are the living God who abides in His people. Let this be our lifesong, our light, our seed, and our salt upon this earth. Amen.
On a related note, this song caught my ear and made me think of Jesus, my first love: