How busy are you? I think for most of us, no matter what stage of life we are in, the answer is “really busy”. Whether you’re working, going to school, raising a family, or all three (which is my present condition), I think we all need to pause and take a breath. No, I’m not talking about a vacation, but I’m sure we could all use one. What I’d like to talk about is a few lost spiritual disciplines that can renew our vertical relationship with God as a disciple of Jesus.
"Whether you’re working, going to school, raising a family, or all three, I think we all need to pause and take a breath."
I recently attended Resurgence Training Center (Re-Train) and the first book I read was called Satisfy Your Soul by Bruce Demarest. I believe it to be providential, and pretty wise of the professors at Re-Train, that the first book I got my hands on began by challenging and inspiring me to pause and spend time with my Savior. The challenge went beyond the classic American version of “devotions” and reminded me of a past that I remember well.
When I first started living my life for Jesus I can honestly say it was A-MAZ-ING. I was 20, living in Maui, involved in ministry, and committed to living the life God was calling me to. I would wake up at sunrise, go for a run on the beach while meditating on Scripture, fall backwards into the ocean while remembering the person and work of Jesus while saying, “In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (remember, I was young), sit in silence, read, journal and pray for hours. On more than one occasion, one of my roommates would knock on my bedroom door and when they’d come into my room I would expect them to either cry in repentance or immediately worship because the presence of God was so real while I prayed.
Fast forward to now and I look back at those days as, glory days. Why? Because my present experience of God simply looks different; it’s not as deep, my times of “feeling” God’s presence is nominal, and my devotions seem rigid and rushed. Can you relate?
A few weeks ago the emotional toll of my job began to wear on me. I went for a run and started thinking about being silent before the LORD. I stopped and sat next to the Truckee river and began to try and quiet my soul. I pleaded with God to speak to me... and it wasn’t long before I was in tears, listening to God as He directed my prayers and confessions, feeling His presence grant me grace and being filled with the Spirit! I walked slowly back to the church with a smile that could be compared to a kid in a candy store. I had peace, a deep joy, and a renewed heart. I took a breath of God.
Old disciplines for a new day...
I will take my stand at my watch post and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me and what I will answer concerning my complaint.
The prophet Habakkuk had just listed off his second complaint towards the LORD after hearing some not so good news. What I love is his response and I think it gives us an inside look at what it looks like to listen; he sits at the watchtower and waits to hear Him.
How often do we do we ask something of God and end with an Amen, never waiting for a response? The usual hope within such a prayer is that God will use providence (divine use of circumstances) to show us what the answer will be. God is good and I have seen Him do this time and time again. However, I think we are missing out by not allowing ourselves to stop and listen in hopes that God could speak to us.
There is also the aspect of soul care. When I was at the river I was hoping to hear from God, but I had no real agenda. What took place was God showed up and did some surgery on my soul. We should allow time to simply “Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10.
May my meditation be pleasing to him for I rejoice in the Lord.
A few days ago I sat in my walk in closet (I wasn’t trying to be spiritual, it’s just a quiet place when you have 4 kids) and began to mediate on God’s grace and love. As my mind began to wrap around those concepts, I asked, “God, show me what your grace looks like.” What proceeded was a vision of God gently speaking affirmations of truth from scripture like; “Your are a my child” and “Blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and “Nothing can separate you from my love”. My soul was filled by the amount of grace shown in those statements because I knew I didn’t deserve them.
"We need to stop the craziness every once in a while and meditate of the truths of Scripture."
Our minds are filled with business and “to do’s” constantly. We need to stop the craziness every once in a while and meditate of the truths of Scripture. Take a verse and read it over and over and begin to chew on the truths found within it. Take a biblical concept like faith and ask God to speak to you about it. Take one characteristic of God like his omnipotence (all powerful) and try and wrap your mind around it.
These are just two areas that I think we neglect within our spiritual lives. In light of the sermon this week take a “Selah” (pause), confess your sins to God, and breath in His presence...