Sunday, October 30, 2011

Gliding Forward Even While We Sleep

I am reading (for the third time) Brother Lawrence's classic The Practice of the Presence of God. Reading books like this, like the reading of Scripture, takes my heart to a deep place of fitness and belonging. Reading such things bring my heart to its true home.

There are many gems in Brother Lawrence. All center on dwelling, 24/7, in God's empowering presence. The constant dwelling in Christ was Brother Lawrence's goal. For him this was like learning a new language. One either continues to practice it and grow in it or neglect it and regress. He writes: "We must continuously walk in God's Spirit, since in the spirit-life not to advance is to fall back." (31)

The "24/7" part, for him, meant just that, and this includes the night, when we are sleeping. I love this beautiful truth and the way he expresses it: "Those who have the wind of the Holy Spirit in their souls glide ahead even while they sleep." (31) I think this is good biblical theology. Consider the "branch - Vine" metaphor Jesus uses in John 15. The connected branch grows 24/7. It does not disconnect from the Vine for 8 hours of sleep. So, I think this kind of "abiding" is, necessarily, 24/7. Which means the dwelling in Christ goes on even while we sleep.

Awareness of Christ's presence is nice but not necessary. In sleep we are mostly if not entirely unaware, but we are not unaffected. Spirit-morphing continues. Fruit-bearing happens.