When our kids were very little we, like many parents, wanted to get that perfect, professionally done toddler photograph. So, we booked an appointment.
I had expected that getting that perfect, professionally done toddler photograph would involve a lot of professional things—things like adjusting lights, focussing lenses, multiple snapshots at varying apertures and several other such “perfect” and “professional” things. In fact it involved none of that. Most of the session was about getting the child in position, making funny sounds and faces, and attracting the child’s gaze to some specific doll or hand puppet the photographer selected from a big box of many such items and held high for the child to see.
All the child had to do was sit still and look at the object. Simple, right?
Well all I know is that in our many years of child rearing getting the child to do this one simple thing was never a task I was very good at! In fact it turns out that getting the child to do exactly this is the photographer’s real skill.
Sitting still is not much easier for fully grown Christian believers either! But sitting still and focussing on God is the one thing God asks us very seriously to do.
The shepherd psalmist David has Jehovah say in verse, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Ps. 46:10). And Christ entreats us all “Abide in Me.” (John 15:4). Or as some translations have it, “Remain in Me.” Having gotten us into position He says, “Now just stay that way and live out the rest of your life in this world.” It’s the only thing we need to do. Abiding in Him makes all other decisions right and easy. But it’s the one thing we keep squirming away from continuing.
Jesus made this ever so clear: “Abide in Me,” He said (John 15:4). And in the following seven verses He repeats the verb a further nine times!
“Abide in Me,” He says. As a branch must abide in the vine in order to be productive, so must we abide in Him. The one who so abides will indeed produce MUCH fruit. Failing to abide in Him results only in self-destruction, but when one abides in Him, and His words abide in that person, miracles can occur bringing glory to God the Father and affirmation to the disciple. “Abide in My Love,” He adds. Keeping His commandments is the way to abide in His Love just as Jesus exemplified, saying “…I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” His reason in urging this upon us He also made clear, “…so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (see John 15:4-11).
“Apart from Me you can do nothing.” He reminds us.
So, don’t be a “toddler” Christian. Sit still. Look upon Him. Don’t move! He is making of you a “perfect, professional picture” — not of you, but of Himself in you!