On Babies, Oils and Abiding in The Vine

person girl woman photography portrait child pink baby close up sleep mother infant newborn toddler eye skin organ interaction sleeping baby portrait photography human action

He had been fighting sleep all morning.
He usually does, at least during the day.
Too much to see, too much to do for this little guy.
But he also seems to have seasonal allergies.
Hard to tell when he is only 10-months old.

But he finally gave in.
I took him in my arms and within a few minutes he was asleep with his nose buried in my neck.
A precious, warm weight in my arms.

Everyone who had been playing with him Sunday morning commented on it.
How he finally fell asleep, and with so little effort.
How he was completely passed out.
How relaxed he was.

And while I have to admit, I have a special connection with this little dude, I realized later that it probably had little to do with me personally.
It was the oils.
I, too, have developed seasonal allergies.
They don’t give me watery eyes or sneezes.
They mostly settle in my ears, my throat and my chest.
So I had rubbed a highly effective combo of peppermint, lavender and lemon essential oils on my throat and chest that morning.
And that is probably why he slept so deeply.
I was acting as a natural diffuser for his little body as he inhaled the oils on my skin. It is a combo that his Mom uses routinely at home. So whether it was the comfort of the familiar or the relief they brought, either way, I was diffusing something he needed.

But here’s the thing: it didn’t happen by some colossal effort on my part.
It was simply a natural consequence of something I did to benefit my own health.

And it made me think about our spiritual lives.
How they are.
How they should be.
How they can be.

See, you and I were born to be diffusers.
Naturally spreading into this world the love of God.
Not by conjuring up a to-do list, a check-off sheet, or a religious ritual.
But out of the overflow of our own hearts, our mouths will speak.
Out of the growth in our own lives, the Spirit will bear fruit.
Out of what we have been given, we will freely turn around and give away.

Out of the things I am doing that deeply benefit me, the world will be blessed.  I didn’t put those oils on for his benefit – but they blessed him deeply, simply because they were now a part of me.

And so in the Kingdom of God.  And in our assigned mission of reaching the world in the name of Jesus.

Because we are loved, we will love others deeply in His name.
Not out of emotion.
Or because they somehow are worthy.
But simply because we are loved.
We have “tasted and seen that the Lord is good.”
And as His love fills our lives, it will overflow, splashing and spreading into the lives of all who cross our path.

If.
If we abide.
That is the only secret to the Christian life.
To doing it well.
To diffusing it well.
Abiding.

If I abide with Christ, I want to know what He thinks.
And I find that in His Word.
If I abide with Christ, I want to have conversations with Him.
And I do through prayer.
If I abide with Christ, I want to stay connected, letting His life flow through mine.
And I do that through obedience.
If I abide with Christ, He says that I will bear MUCH fruit. (John 15)

But it won’t happen because I am trying to bear fruit.
It will happen simply because I am remaining continuously connected to The Vine.
Allowing His life to flow in and through mine.

Which will set off a chain reaction.
I will change.
And then that will change how I treat you.
Not because I am trying to earn a relationship with God.
Or because I am trying to make Him love me more.
But simply because I am doing the things that benefit my own soul.
But the side effects will be the distinctive aroma of grace. The sweet smells of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. The life-changing scent of knowing I am deeply loved – and therefore knowing it is safe to love you.

You’ll inhale deeply.
Drawn to what – or rather, WHO – you see at work in me.
And as you choose to abide in The Vine, you’ll “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12).
And the whole process begins again.
Multiplying the amazing scents of the Living God to a world that desperately needs a deep, cleansing breath of The Breath of Heaven.
Shining in the darkness.
A city set on a hill, unable to be hidden.
Being salt, preserving a world bent on wickedness.
Bringing flavor, preserving that which is good.

The choices before me today are myriad.
But all of them will fall into place if I seek first His Kingdom.
If I choose to abide first, the Vine will show this branch how to best reflect Him in every circumstance I find myself in today.
And I will automatically spread the fragrances of Him through my day.
Without a whole lot of effort on my part.
Beyond the effort of abiding in The Vine.

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