Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. John 15: 4-5
I like complexities. Nuances excite me. It’s why I loved studying English Lit as an undergrad. Picking apart brilliant passages by some of the greatest writers, holding them up to view them from every angle and uncovering the hidden layers fueled me.
Yes, the mind can be a great thing.
And yet it isn’t the highest thing. I’ll never forget an exchange that occurred in one undergraduate literature class that went something like this. A student, frustrated that a book like the Bible could have any meaningful contribution to society, began to argue that humanity would be just fine throwing the Bible out and living off plain logic.
My professor responded matter-of-factly: “Oh, so you worship the mind.”
Confused the student replied, “What? I don’t worship anything! I'm an atheist. Didn’t you hear me? I said if we just use our brains and think logically, we’ll be able to create a peaceful and happy society.”
“Yes, I heard you," replied the professor. "You are saying you see the mind as the highest source of Truth. That nothing exists above it. And that through the use of our brains, we will obtain all the answers we seek. Yes, that is a clear case of mind worship.”
I don’t like to admit it, but I have to say I’ve fallen into the practice of “mind worship” more than once in my life. Have you ever spent hours trying to solve the world’s problems by anxiously mulling, analyzing, examining, agonizing, and exhausting yourself? If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably lost more than a few nights of sleep thanks to a racing mind.
Accepting that the most profound truths are often the simplest ones has relieved me of some huge mental burdens. And better yet, these simple truths originate from a source much bigger and more knowledgeable than our muddled minds.
In the verse above we see that Christ is the true vine, and we are the branches. Apart from Him, nothing is possible. No amount of brilliant thought, good works, or shining accomplishments will give us the answers we seek or lead us to eternal life. On the flip side, a life that is brief or broken or seemingly normal is filled with eternal significance when united with Christ.
So how do we “abide” in Christ? Once again, a life dedicated to Christ can be a very simple one. We can:
-- Pray (communicate with God) daily.
-- Worship weekly (at Sunday service)
-- Read God’s Word
-- Develop virtue (strengthen those character traits that reflect God’s goodness)
-- Eradicate sin (confess and abandon those character traits that don’t reflect God’s goodness)
-- Serve those in need.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Are you overwhelmed with decisions or juggling too many responsibilities? Get back to the basics. Rededicate your life to the Source of life and focus only on what pleases Him. You’ll be amazed at the spiritual fruit.