During the last year or so, the focus of my relationship with God has been on being in Him.
“All the dealings of God with the soul of the believer are in order to bring him into oneness with Himself, that the prayer of our Lord may be fulfilled: ‘That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.’ . . . ‘I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me.’
This soul-union was the glorious purpose in the heart of God for His people before the foundation of the world. It was the mystery hid from ages and generations. It was accomplished in the incarnation of Christ. It has been made known by the Scriptures. And it is realized as an actual experience by many of God’s dear children.”
The Christian’s Secret Of A Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith
We’ve gone through a lot of stages to get to this point – learning to understand Him as my Father, getting free of lies about Him and myself, etc. – all of which were necessary for me to be able to trust Him.
So now I’m learning what it means . . . what it looks like . . . how it works . . . to abide in the Vine. (John 15:5)
I could give you a lot of ‘Christianese’ on the subject, but if you’re like me, that just confuses the issue, so I’ll just share what I’ve learned.
- I’ve learned that ‘childlike faith’ is much simpler, and harder, than it sounds. It is believing in Him and trusting His Word so completely that you don’t even think about it. Little children (up to about age five) don’t even think about being part of the family, they just are. They don’t think about: will Mom give me food when I’m hungry? Will there be a bed when I’m sleepy? Will I get a hug when I need it? They just live! And the trust that all their needs will be provided is so natural, they aren’t even aware of its existence. They never have to make a choice to trust.
- I’ve learned that it’s so natural that it feels wrong. I mean, with all the brainwashing I received in church, the concept that I don’t have to focus, concentrate, work at being in Him was so foreign to me that it took a long time to understand this part. In fact, I’m still working on it. Just about every day I see another area where I haven’t trusted my Heavenly Father. And I have to reject the guilt that tries to come sneaking in, nagging that I’m not trusting Him because I’m not praying about it or struggling to do it, etc.
- I’m learning that abiding in Him is not this intense awareness that I work to maintain. Sometimes I am aware of Him, sometimes I’m not. But either way, I am still in Him. And He is in me. In fact, those little nudges to do or not do something, those little feelings that I should or shouldn’t say something, all of that is abiding in Him.
- I’ve learned that abiding in Him is something that we do all the time, even when we’re not consciously aware of it. Example: I’m just talking to someone – not having prayed beforehand, or even being conscious of His presence at that point – and I say something that changes their view of themselves or God or life, and I don’t even realize what I said until I hear it. That is Him abiding in me, and me so one with Him that He speaks through me.
- All those things I was taught about the gifts of the Spirit were really just examples of how He works through us, when we are IN HIM and He is in us. We don’t have to work at producing them; they’re just there when we need them, because we’re there – in Him. Same with the fruit of the Spirit. It just grows naturally, not through striving.
- I’ve learned that, although this is a place we are to just ‘be’, it’s hard to get there. Mostly because I keep working to get there. That old cliché – ‘let go, and let God’ – isn’t really a cliché at all! That’s really what needs to happen. I need to let go of trying; of my need to do it myself; of the feeling that if I don’t focus on it, it won’t work. I need to just accept that because of Christ and his death on the cross, I AM in Him!! Period!
- I’ve learned that this is another facet of the finished work of Christ. He came to restore us to God, to the relationship with Him that mankind was originally created for. (That finished work is so immense! Wow!)
Every so often I sit down with the concordance and my Bible, looking up the meanings of the words, and writing them in the margins. In verse 8 of Genesis 3, the word translated ‘cool’ (as in ‘God walked in the garden in the cool of the day’) is actually translated everywhere else as wind or spirit. So that made me wonder . . . if God walked in the Garden in the wind or spirit of the day, does that mean He was always there? Did they, until the fall, actually live in His presence all the time, every moment? Hhmmm.
But whether or not Adam and Eve did, that seems to be what we, the new creation, are called to. (see John 14 – 17)
May this be your prayer and your experience:
“Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
From ‘Be Thou My Vision’
An Irish hymn from the 8th century