Sunday, April 6, 2008

Abiding is Hard Work

One of the most fascinating aspects of faith in Christ is how hard people work to develop faith rather than works. Not long ago a friend wrote to assure our little band that even though he was a Reformed man full of faith, he had not stopped trying to develop more faith so he could heal more people and have more prayers answered.

In response I wrote up my recent research on abiding in the vine and how to abide better. Here is the summary of my research.

I spent a year researching grapes and how they managed to abide in the vine. I interviewed the big, juicy, fat grapes, since they had mastered the abiding techniques well. It was an intense process because grapes rarely want to share their secrets and hard work of abiding and developing faith.

Gary: Hello, Mr. Grape. You are so big, juicy and well developed you must have worked very hard to get so healthy.
Grape: What!! Are you nuts? I did nothing. I simply hung on to the vine.
Gary: But, Mr. Grape, how were you able to abide so well? It must take a lot of work and faith to make yourself so secure in the vine?
Grape: Where did you study agriculture, the USSR? I am telling you that abiding is resting and I can do nothing on my own. In fact, I have no ability to do anything in the realm of sticking or working to abide more. The vine holds on to me not the other way around.
Gary: So, it was your faith in abiding that allowed you to develop so much juice and produce so much? How did you develop into such a giant of faith? Was it hard to do? What about all your failures?
Grape: What do you mean, develop stronger faith so I could be a “Grape of Great Faith”? I have no idea why you are trying to make this so hard? The vine does it all. I do not even know how to ask the vine for more let alone make it produce better. By the way, you are making me so nervous it may interfere with my juice production. Anxiety makes me have acid and that eats away at my juice production. Why don’t you go interview some apples or figs? Go see how hard they work to grow so large and juicy.
Gary: Well, ladies and gentlemen, there you have it from the horses, er, Grapes' own mouth. They refused to share their secret techniques, exercise regimen and faith building program. That is really too bad and I hope the grapes will write a book on "Becoming a Faithful Grape"! However, I am not confident that they will.

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