Monday, May 23, 2016

Growing Spiritually Even While We Sleep

Gliding Forward Even While We Sleep

Tree on fire in my backyard

I am reading (for the third time) Brother Lawrence's classic The Practice of the Presence of God. Books like this, like the reading of Scripture, take my heart to deep places of fitness and belonging. They bring my heart to its true home.

There are many gems in Brother Lawrence. All of them 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 includes night time when we are sleeping. "Those who have the wind of the Holy Spirit in their souls glide ahead even while they sleep." (31) 

I agree. Consider the "branch - Vine" metaphor Jesus uses in John 15. The connected branch grows 24/7. It does not disconnect from the Vine for eight hours of sleep. Christ-dwelling is our status even while we sleep. Sometimes God gives us dreams, right? Surely he is still with us when we are not awake.

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