Jesus in Luke 9 - Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my FOLLOWER, you MUST TURN FROM your selfish ways, take up your cross DAILY, and follow me."
This reminds me of Andrew Murray's book "Abide in Christ" where he talks about Christ as the vine and his follower as a branch attached to the vine, daily getting the nourishment it needs to grow and produce the grape (fruit). He points out that there can be no 'part-time" branch, it is either attached (constantly abiding in Christ) or it is detached and thrown into the fire. This may seem harsh but Jesus himself said "no man can serve 2 masters..." (Matt 6:24)
What does it mean to "abide" in Christ? If we meditate upon the analogy of marriage as a reflection of our relationship to Christ, I think it can shed some light.
When we were dating our future wives we totally connected to them. In fact we most likely took great efforts to facilitate that connection. We looked forward to any moments we would spend with them and were constantly mindful of ways to be more attractive, attentive, clever and thoughtful in an effort to appear desirable as a future mate. The thought of cheating on them was far from appealing to us. Years later, we may be married, they carry our name but as is often the case, live essentially as roommates. Our desire to please our mates or efforts to be desirable have faded.
We speak to them in ways we never would have when dating. We take little interest in the things that interest them (unless it interests us) and often see our mates as a hindrance to getting what we want. In all honesty spending time with them is a duty (unless she is giving us what we want). We have become 2 disconnected branches sharing a house and if this continues, eventually the death of the marriage will manifest in divorce.
Abiding and intimacy take effort, commitment and work...with our wives and with God.
- How would you rate your level of intimacy with Jesus? Would he agree?
- How would you rate your level of intimacy with your wife? Would she agree?
- What steps can you take to grow your intimacy with Jesus?
- Who will hold you accountable to taking these steps?