Thursday, October 14, 2010
What Does it Mean?
"If you're going to live in my house, you're going to abide by my rules."
Oh, come on. Admit it. If you've raised teenagers, you've said this very phrase. In this volatile time of life (the teen years), boundaries are still necessary as understood by the adults, though not necessarily by the teenager. So the parental "putting down of the foot" relates to living by within their guidelines in regards to school work, house rules and respect.
Abiding in the Christian walk is a lot different. If abiding meant living by God's rules alone, then it would be more like behaviorism and legalism than true family dwelling. Let me explain.
This morning after I did my normal routine at the bathroom mirror, I set down my tooth brush and looked at the floss. Now, flossing wouldn't have even crossed my mind except for the fact that I recently went to the dentist and despite the fact that my teeth were fine (no cavities!), I still was gently reprimanded for not flossing. So here's how this typically works in my life:
I feel bad that I don't floss.
I go home.
I forget about flossing, except for the distant gnawing on my conscience which wears off after about three weeks.
I remember about a month before the next dentist cleaning that if I don't start flossing I will have the same awkward reprimand in my future.
I put off flossing for another two weeks.
I look for floss but don't find any.
I go to my appointment and get gently reprimanded again by the same hygienist and dentist.
Then the cycle starts again.
So, this morning as I looked at the floss, a greater question was formed in my mind. Am I flossing out of fear of the dentist, or could there be a greater reason than pleasing him that I should do this?
Same with the Christian walk. Abiding with Christ is dwelling with Him - living with Him, learning from Him, conforming your life into His image. Sharing meals, watching television together, long discussions by the fireplace, awkward confrontations when you are out of line, laughing with Him, crying on His shoulder, growing in Him. Abide - the fullest definition of dwelling.
If you look at God and think that abiding in Him is simply living by His rules so as not to tick Him off, then you may have a very teenaged view of God. And if you think that abiding in Him is mindlessly doing something He's asked you to do and you do it out of fear, then you possibly have a very limited understanding of the purposes behind God's will and instruction.
Abiding means relationship. Everything the Lord asks of us flows from His very character. There is reason and purpose behind each and every instruction. There is a depth in abiding that co-existing or office visits simply can't attain.
So, my question for you today is this: Are you trying to get through life without breaking the house rules, following the house rules out of fear of a reprimand or are you walking daily with the Father, gleaning from His teaching and His gentle Hand in your life, abiding in His mercy and grace, conforming into the image of His Son?
John 15 - our meditation passage for ladies study - if you have a chance, read it today...