You’ve embarked on four (or more) years of study. What will you do with your years in college?
Meditation: Making your home in Christ
Take time to listen to God in prayer, in his Word, and in what his Holy Spirit is saying to your heart. Get settled, take a deep breath and prayerfully prepare to examine your life in light of the following passage. Release your anxieties. Read these verses slowly several times and reflect on what it means to abide in Christ and make your home with him.
Hear the words of Jesus:
“I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.
“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
“I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
“I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.
“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.
“You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.
“But remember the root command: Love one another” (John 15:1-17, The Message).
- Currently, how “at home” with Christ are you?
- Do your obedience and activity flow from making your home in Christ’s love, or do they flow from something else?
- What steps can you take to make your home in Christ’s love? Are there disciplines you need to employ, attitudes you need transformed, fears you need to alleviate? Think about the things that make you feel far away from the love of Jesus.
- How would you describe yourself as a fruit-bearer? What is the counsel of Jesus to you in these verses?
If you are involved in ministry on campus, reflect on how your life can be different by embracing the following:
“For too long we have thought of the Christian life as essentially either involvement in political, economic, social concerns that wear us out and result in depression or activity which keeps the church intact and doctrinally pure. Our primary orientation cannot be to an institution or some great cause or even other people, but first and forever to God. Unless our identity is hid in God we will never know who we are or what we are to do. Our first act must be prayer, Oratio.To be human is to pray, to meditate both day and night on the love and activity of God. We are called to be continuously formed and transformed by the thought of God within us. Prayer is a disciplined dedication to paying attention. Without the single-minded attentiveness of prayer we will rarely hear anything worth repeating or catch a vision worth asking anyone else to gaze upon.
“Too many of us are thinking these days as the world thinks because we do not begin our thinking by thinking about God. Only by paying attention to God will we experience the ecstasy that leads to wisdom. Prayer is that work, that disciplined attentiveness, that bold losing of oneself, that openness to divine leading which defines the everyday spiritual life of every human being. We are called to work and pray. But if we don’t pray, if we don’t pay close attention to God, our work becomes drudgery rather than vocation, meaningless rounds of activities rather than meaningful human life, and even our actions on behalf of social justice become self-righteous and self-serving rather than a radical witness to true human life.
“Prayer is at the heart of the Christian life. Prayer is communion with God, a personal response to God’s presence.”
—John H. Westerhoff III and John D. Eusden, The Spiritual Life: Learning East and West
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, graciousâthe best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies” (Philippians 4:6-9, The Message).
Go in peace.
—adapted from articles by Roger Weber and Steve Stuckey
Read more in the feature article, Hovering anxiety.
Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright Â© 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.