In our era, we’re used to plugging technology in to recharge. We have to bring power cords on trips and search for a place to plug in. We keep an eye on our phone so it doesn’t conk out on us at important moments. Our vocabulary has grown to include phrases like “recharging our batteries” when we need rest or refreshment or “plugging into” a power source. Some have even used the latter in connection with God and His power and provision.
In yesterday’s reading from Spectacle of Glory by Joni Eareckson Tada, she notes the differences between plugging in and abiding.
Jesus said in John 15:5: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
We don’t get charged up in God in order to unplug and live on our own–until it’s time for the next charge. No. We never disconnect from Him. We are living branches connected to the living Christ. His life is our life.
Then, in probably the best definition for abiding that I think I have heard, Joni says:
Abiding is living in constant awareness of total dependence on Jesus. It involves a constant flow of life-giving sap from the Holy Spirit–not a spiritual charge that takes us up to 80 percent. Abiding in Christ is a 100 percent relationship.
It’s true that the Bible likens God’s Word to spiritual food, and our relationship with God, our love for Him, and our Christian character all grow as we spend time in the Bible. Our time in the Word of God helps cultivate that awareness of our dependence on Him. But we don’t, as Joni notes, “sit down for our quiet time and ask ourselves, How long do I have to be plugged into God today to get a good spiritual charge?”
No, once we believe on Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we’re a vine connected to His branch. His life flows through us. He doesn’t charge us up and then us send us off to live independently til we need another charge. We don’t have to worry about becoming disconnected to Him. He’s always with us, constantly empowering us to live for Him.
I need your presence every passing hour.
What but your grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who like yourself my guide and strength can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.
Henry Francis Lyte, 1847