In prayer, God wants us to come before him as we are, however we are feeling. There is no need to hold back. Everything belongs: our nervousness; our aggression; the good and the bad; EVERYTHING. God can handle it! We do not need to fear being honest with God.
And it’s a painful dentist visit if you get too far behind. That’s sort of how it’s been during the years of not reading scripture daily: scum-y. And the scum builds. Self-talk is scum-y, conversations with strangers are scum-y, talking with friends and family becomes scum-y.
I realized during our Rooted study last year that this is a response of feeling responsible for so many things. I realized after addressing control through that lens it is often also a way of protecting myself emotionally. I have been addressing that in prayer over some months now. I ask God often to "convince me that trusting Him is easier than trusting myself."
The Bible is meant for ongoing meditation. One way to study the scriptures is through the rhythm of Lectio Divina. In this method, we seek to experience the presence of God through reading and listening, prayer, meditation and contemplation.
No spiritual rhythm is more important than the intake of God's word. Nothing can substitute for it. In our busy lives, it's easy to become preoccupied with "Christian" activities and not spend enough time in God's word. Scripture intake is not only one of the most important spiritual rhythms, it is also the most broad. There are several ways to pursue scripture.
So what is the matter with being in a rut? There is an old saying “a rut is just a grave with both ends kicked out!” We talked in the Sunday sermon about habits or Rhythms that we get into. Some good, some bad, and some, . . well just our routine.
As with running, the spiritual rhythms that I engage in (prayer, Scripture, rest, community) have been uncomfortable and sporadic at first. I have to build endurance for them. I have to push through not enjoying some of them and evaluate afterwards the fact that they actually made me feel better than before.
That is the focus of our series, "PURSUIT". We are pursuing relationship with Jesus by developing rhythms that shape our hearts and the pattern of our behaviors. Not just our hearts...our souls. These rhythms unite our heads and our hearts, growing our love for God and our neighbors, just as we were created to be.
Have I become so accustomed to life here on Earth that life after the return of the Christ, where pain and striving will cease and the perfection of the Garden of Eden will return, has simply become a part of my theology, rather than a future reality on which I can depend? Have I placed the temporary amusement found in a movie above the everlasting peace of life in the presence of God? I’d like to say “no,” but I don’t think that would be the most truthful of responses.
Had Christ not hung on the cross, taken on our sins, and defeated Satan’s power, His rising again would not have been as meaningful. We wouldn’t be singing worship songs about it. The New Testament probably wouldn’t have been written. And no one would have eternal life.We're going to read through scriptures together each day this week, "walking in His shoes." And by He, I mean Jesus. This is HIS story.