This past Sunday we talked about the lessons we can learn from our spiritual ancestors who wandered in the wilderness for 40 years between the exodus from Egypt and the entry into the Promised Land. We focused on four lessons learned in the wilderness:
1. The need for Patience
2. Giving up Control
3. Being open to New Ideas
4. Our need to Remain Connected to the Lord
Of the four, the one that I struggle with most is remaining connected to the Lord.
In John 15, Jesus offers a vineyard as the image to consider for life as a follower of Jesus. Jesus is the vine, we are the branches, and God is the vine grower. I love the poetic feel of the passage:
I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5 (NRSV)
My job as a follower of Jesus, a branch, is to abide in Jesus. Abide is a poetic word meaning “to remain connected/attached to.” My job is to remain connected/attached to Jesus. This isn’t rocket science…it’s actually quite simple conceptually, but in practice it takes great discipline.
Daily study, prayer, reflection and holy action are what it takes for me to abide in Jesus. On good days I am able to abide. Other days I feel my soul withering.
I’m guessing I’m not alone in this. How ’bout this: I’ll pray for you to abide, and you can pray for me.