March 13, 2012

Abiding is like Dancing

Christians could be said to have dual personalities. One, the flesh or old nature, exhibits sinful behavior. The other is the spiritual person, the same body and everything else, but filled with the Holy Spirit instead of selfishness. While the difference is obvious, describing it is a challenge.
I’m thinking of a child dancing to a favorite tune. She is lost in the music, totally without any sense of self-consciousness, yet simply a delight to those watching. However, as soon as someone says, “Are you ever cute,” she becomes aware of herself and the magic is gone. She either stops dancing and hides, or starts performing and looking for complements.

This probably happened to me as a child, but I can remember it happening once as an adult. I was standing on the shore in Maui watching forty-foot waves for the first time. I was totally mesmerized by their power and completely absorbed by the beauty of the ocean. Then someone said to me the equivalent of “Are you ever cute,” and the moment was gone. Instead of focusing on the ocean, I became aware of what I looked like as I focused on the ocean. I recall feeling deeply disappointed, almost wounded at losing that sense of awe and delight that made me totally forget myself.

This is as close as I can come to describing worship and the experience of being filled with the Spirit of God. This is also a picture of what Jesus meant when He said that His people need to abide in Him.
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. (John 15:5)
When Jesus is the focus, the object of our attention, then we become so taken up with Him that whatever we do is a product of that awe and delight. The work I do or the ministry that I am involved in does not change, but abiding in Him changes me. Instead of that to-do list being a mere set of chores that can feel like a daily grind or a performance for others, it becomes a delight, like a child dancing without any thought of self.

Lord, what a lovely image. My list is long today. Instead of dreading it or becoming tired of it, I’d love to dance through it, abiding in You. That means keeping my eyes on You and not allowing anything divert my attention to myself. May the music begin!

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