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In sports training, there is a time when you hit a plateau. Your muscles are used to the routine and growth has been stalled. This is a time to change up the routine introducing new techniques and bring variety to “surprise” the muscles through the plateau. None of us like roadblocks or stalled routines. In our Christian life, we can also go through the motions and miss out on experiencing God. The common vernacular today is to “fake it till you make it”. This doesn’t always work – let’s talk about a better way.
Our actions reveal our heart. But when we do things without thinking and with no heart of passion, we need to put the brakes on and consider the “why” behind “what” we are doing. Jesus made you with a free will, He wants us to follow him became of love not because we are robots. A personal walk with God precedes power with God. What is not personal to us we will one day forsake it. We follow a personal redeemer, think about it if we were the only ones on the earth Christ would have still come for us! That is personal love!
In Song of Solomon 1:4-8 is a picture of how a person can be drawn to God in a personal real way and then drifts away. It is easy to take “care of other vineyards and people’s “stuff” but our own heart or vineyard we have not kept”. This self-sacrificing mission isn’t Gods mission. When our output is more than our input, we are in danger of burning out. Intimacy is when we are touched personally with Gods plan of redemption. We begin to understand His heart behind His action.
Going through the motions is when we do what we are “supposed to do” but without a personal touch from the Lord. On this platform, at best, we are people pleasers. The question is being begged to be asked – How much is good enough and by whose standard? We will not always “feel God” but as we “practice his presence” we become more aware of his visitation. God wants us to walk with him moment by moment. More than doing great work for Him, the great work will come as an overflow of fellowship with a great big God. Need can only drive you so far, but it can’t sustain you.
What touches Gods heart must touch our heart, this is the “why’ behind the “what” that we do. How does this happen? Being honest and transparent with God is the beginning to go beyond mere knowledge and enter real fellowship. We draw near to Him by faith, and “hide his word in our heart” and we are changed into his likeness.
Live in the Meaning
In our secular age, words in their original meaning have been changed or lost. Preference and liberalism are the flavors of the day. Many of us want our faith on “our terms” this can be very turbulent and deceptive. How we define things we hear and see is paramount. In our relationships, our “intrinsic” dictionaries define things based on our understanding of the facts and our experience rather than objective truth. Misunderstandings and confusions can reign in these environments. We have all accumulated knowledge by how we were educated, brought up and through life experiences. This knowledge is still valuable but limited. We must go deeper. This is where we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit, for it is not a place we can find on our own.
Jesus wants us to go beyond what we think we know and enter a mystery. This may sound cryptic, but here is where God shows up! Life limited to definitions is not enough! It is easy to spout off words and give the appearance that we know what we are talking about. It is living in the meaning that causes the power of WHAT I know to be governed by WHO I know.
God is always speaking in a still, small voice, as we quiet ourselves, then we hear more clearly the personal word that He has prepared for us, the WORD beyond all the superfluous words. I believe this is one of the greatest struggles in the Christian life – experiencing what we know.
The practice of worship and meditation prepares our hearts to hear and experience God. Worship moves us into the power of what we know. I Corinthians 8:2 If any man thinketh that he knoweth anything, he knoweth not yet as he ought to know;
Worship is translating knowledge to power as we give authority to the presence of God in our lives. To amplify this awareness we must ask this question where is Christ honored? We see throughout the bible His presence rest where there is humility, purity, and faith. As we build on these foundations the kingdom of God becomes tangible.
Worship brings our attention to our Savior and we learn to recognize his personal word for our lives; this “Rhema” replaces mere knowledge. Rhema speaks of the moments when the veil comes off our eyes and we see a personal glimpse of the meaning of truth in 2 Corinthians 3:14. It is one thing to read something from an author and quite another when you know the Author and He addresses you by name. These personal words strengthen and inspire great motive, energy, and drive to pursue God and His purpose. We discover His devotion to us, and it inspires us.
In our deductive and inductive reasoning, we not only have our focus on what God said but also what does he mean? We can answer this question two ways: General revelation is what we see and perceive, this information generated helps bring in logical and natural understanding. Secondly, Personal revelation is what we hear and see touches our hearts in the ministry of the Holy Spirit; both are valuable but personal revelation is what transforms our hearts.
To illustrate this point: we could look at the ingredients of spaghetti sauce and “know” what is in the sauce. But when we taste it, we enter understanding of the sauce – delicious! Understanding happens as we pass by knowledge and live in the meaning.
The more attention we give to personal revelation enables us to catch a clear glimpse of what the Author is saying, and we discover His heart. Often what is personal is what touches our hearts and is remembered. When Jesus said Mary’s name at the tomb, that is when she knew it was Jesus and she called him Lord! She was comforted and strengthened.
Meditation brings resident knowledge of absolute truth or promises to the forefront of our minds. We begin to fellowship with the Promiser. Here comes the revelation of the building blocks of WHY we believe WHAT we believe. We ponder and muse and enter the mood of what we know and possess. We become possessors rather than mere professors. It is easy to talk a good game, but when the rubber meets the road what we really possess will be made evident.
As meditation progresses, reflection is produced, and we begin to examine and learn personally what we have stored in our hearts. We begin to scrutinize and examine knowledge as though our life depended on it. This, in turn, creates Rhema’s—a personal revelation from God for our lives. Doubt and questions are ok if it takes us on a pursuit to deeper living. To the measure that we “unpack” and relearn truth will be to the measure that our recall will release power. Reflections bring us into the image of what we are meditating on. God is faithful to show personal wisdom to the student who takes the time to seek Him
The longevity of our ministry and our faith is caused by the state of wonder and amazement toward Christ. This personal revelation will be fresh in us and our life will not only be changed but exchanged into something brand new! We will leave just conformity and enter transformation. What’s happening? Our inner life is being poured out and affecting our outer life with a personal word from God for those we are in contact with.
Living in Rest
This rest happens IN what we are doing, not away from the action. Personal rest comes to us DURING our ministry. We are given inner strength. This strength upholds us; not in the absence of activity but engaging us in what we are called to do. Often, when we think of rest, vacation comes to mind. A retreat is another way to look at it. Resting in fellowship with an absolute brings to our renewal and refreshment. We are strengthened as we function. There is an exchange. The work we do has a source outside of us, and we are operating and being renewed at once. The completion of the task is not as important as the journey of getting to know god along the way. This determines the way we interpret what is happening around us, a sound mind is not the absence of bad thoughts; it is holding on to the right ones. Right thoughts are those that produce life and capacity—they are building blocks. Even in the most trying situations we can tower with right thinking rather than cower in fear. If we are drinking from the right resource, we will be sustained in hope and Christ will replace our guiding fictions.
The inner stability that is produced by right-thinking affects every aspect of our lives. Our decisions and our conversations are transformed into spheres of expectation and confidence. How we interpret information is important, to organize our knowledge into a proper inventory reduces clutter in our souls. “What we know” is organized through meditation and becomes active as a guard at our heart’s door. We pass from knowledge to life. We live in the meaning rather than just the forms. Trials are designed to bring us over this threshold. However, our flesh often fights God and the process takes longer. God’s plan is that we experience what we know. Even the simple words “I love you” heard deep in our heart could chase fear and produce tremendous inner strength.
Communion is the consequence of worship and meditation. As we break the bread and drink the wine figuratively speaking, we enter His life, according to John 6:63. We believe and trust in the provision of Jesus and His broken body becomes our food and we are fulfilled and satisfied with a new identity. The wine is significant representing the blood which washed away our sins. As we receive Christ’s new life as our sustenance, we are converted. We believe in the Absolute despite what evidence we see; we begin to take on the identity of the Absolute by faith and live in the effects of a new life produced beyond ourselves. Through communing with God, our communication is transformed and there is a radical change. This change can be seen because we are thinking about and interpreting the things that we see differently rather than just by sight. There is now a new dimension, one that is objective. This exchange of life teaches how to delight in grace.
Often, we can battle with being a steward of time. Our schedules are packed with demands, but the value of the treasure cannot be told as we invest in reflecting on God’s personal word. Inner stability and navigation of life decisions are found here. Time is precious; we can never really manage time, but we can recognize priorities. Priorities are like maps that enable us to choose the best way to use this gift of time. For instance, the archeologist carefully removes the dirt to unveil buried treasures. There is no hurry lest they damage or disturb the relic. It takes finesse to preserve the mystery and lead us into true discovery and true meaning. As meaning is discovered, we honor the knowledge that we have received, and we recognize it for what it truly is. In reflection, we learn to slow down and let the words sink deep into us rather than rushing through to complete a task. Saturate yourself in the majesty of God and discover the truth of Who he is that defines what he does. Set aside time for God on purpose, He wants to unfold to you His heart. Let go of the methodology and technique to “find’ God, and just sit and be loved by Him. He will make himself known and inspire you with His passion. He is closer to you than the air that your breathing.