Do any of these questions sound familiar?
“How is your prayer life?”
“How is your thought life?”
“How is your devotional life?”
I’ve heard these a lot over the years, and I appreciate them because of the heart that lies behind these sorts of questions. However, I wish we would not hint that our lives can be compartmentalized so distinctly. We say each one is a ‘life,’ as if each part could exist independently of the others.
Can you live your life without thinking? Even in our sleep, our minds work (it’s so incredible!), and besides a moment here or there where we might “zone out,” we are constantly thinking, processing, and making decisions. Our actions and words are all directly tied to our thoughts.
We should no sooner be able to live without thinking or eating than we can live without praying or relying on the Lord. In reality, all aspects of our lives are intricately connected with threads that we are unable to unravel. Each part influences and interacts with all the others, forming one whole life, not a separate prayer ‘life’ and a thought ‘life’, etc.
One of my favorite passages is John 15, in which Jesus share final words to His disciples before His death.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 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 15:1-5 ESV)
We abide in Christ, and through His Spirit and life-giving strength, we express the beautiful qualities of love and joy and peace. We seek Him and so we understand our place before Him, thus growing in humility and constant dependence. We hide the Scripture within ourselves so that we overcome sin. We experience His love and therefore put on hearts of compassion and make supplication for all people.
Do we see the way it works? Our lives are not separate sections, all functioning individually. We abide in Christ or we do nothing at all.
“How is your abiding-in-Christ-and-bearing-fruit life doing?” It likely sounds funny, but this captures the essence of our living so much more. Let’s consider that with one another. And then while we’re at it, let’s discuss how prayer has been, and humility and patience; discuss evangelism and serving and loving God. But just remember, they’re all part of the whole, part of abiding in Christ.