I mentioned before my great "experiment" ten day ago of giving over control over my quiet times to the Lord. He continues to surprise me.
This morning I felt led to go John 15: 1-8 (At first I wanted to start reading at John 13, but then thought better of it.) The passage is very familiar, and full of details. I will leave it to the Holy Spirit to speak to you about being a branch, bearing fruit, being helpless without Jesus, etc.
What stopped me short was verse 4, "Abide in Me, and I in you." Clearly this is a command with a promise. If I abide in Him, He will abide in me. The question is, how do I abide in Him? What does this mean? How do I do this, 24/7?
I'm not the only one asking this, of course. I remember reading an autobiography of Hudson Taylor where he describes wrestling with this question. He kept wondering how to "get into" Christ, until a brother in Christ pointed out that God had already done it, and he only needed to accept it. But just reading what worked for Hudson never worked for me. Typically my hang-up is that I try to understand, thinking that if I understand I can implement the solution. But I'm beginning to see that it doesn't work that way.
After going round and round a few times with this question on how to abide, the Holy Spirit reminded me that I was trying too hard. "Simply ask and believe that I have heard you." So I wrote this simple prayer into my journal: "Lord, I ask that I may abide in You. Thank You for hearing me. I'm eager to see what this will look like!"
"Continue to draw close to Me during the day. You are only abiding in snatches right now. I was in constant communion with the Father when I walked the earth as the Son of man to show you that it could be done. (Why else would I have cried out 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?' when I was dying at the cross, unless my continual communion with Him was interrupted?)
My response, "Lord, I ask that I may be in constant communion with You through the Holy Spirit."
It's been an interesting morning so far. I find the Holy Spirit saying no to things I want to do, and I have to decide whether to yield to Him and abide in communion with Jesus, or give in to the flesh and live according to the old man. And that while I'm on vacation!