My computer has little to no battery life. If it is unplugged for a mere minute it will shut down for lack of power. It used to have a longer life span, but I think I’ve worn it out from years of use and improper battery care.
I feel that life is just like my laptop. I can go about things on my own, but crash and burn pretty quickly if I’m not plugged in to a source. For me, that life source is Jesus. He is my very life. When I remain in him, he remains in me and evidence of that fact reveals itself in how I live.
Because Jesus isn’t in the flesh today, the idea of remaining in him is an allusive one. It is an idea that many have tried to figure out. There are countless books written and sermons given on remaining in Jesus. (or at least the concepts surrounding the idea) Everyone wants to know the secret. How does one know the presence of Jesus in their life and how do they abide or remain in Him?
Most of the time people answer with simple responses like, “you need to read your bible and pray every day,” or “fast and pray.” Sometimes people throw in fancy words like spiritual discipline or faith practice. Each of these things is neither good nor bad in and of themselves. And, truly, most often practicing spiritual disciplines will lead a person to a deeper connection with Jesus, the life source. But they are not spiritual formulas.
I have walked with many as they’ve longed to understand what it means to remain in Jesus or to even grow in a relationship with him and they simply get bogged down in a new to do list of spiritual or religious practice. And do not find the greater intimacy or life source for which they are looking. But they sure found themselves tired of a lot of work added to their days.
I’ve come to know that remaining is a matter of residence more than practice. Each day we have the opportunity to plant ourselves in something. Often that something is unfortunately found in the opinion of others, a job, anxiety about not measuring up or even our successes. When we plant ourselves in these things, we are saying that this or that is the source of our identity. These things are the things from which we measure our value and gain some sort of personal identity. When we choose to believe or live into a certain thought, we are choosing to reside in it. So as I’ve learned to choose to reside in Jesus and derive my identity and value from him, I’ve found that my life is lived differently.
When I choose to reside in Jesus, it is like plugging in my laptop. The laptop alone can’t get me very far, but when I’m plugged in, there is a steady flow keeping me alive.
What do you think? Is abiding in Jesus a matter of residence or practice? Or both?