In sports training, there is a time when you hit a plateau. Your muscles get used to the routine and growth stalls. This is a time to change up the routine, introduce 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 because of love, not like robots. A personal walk with God precedes power with God. What is not personal to us we will one day forsake. 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, we see a picture of how a person can be drawn to God in a personal, real way and then drift 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 God’s mission. When our output is more than our input, we are in danger of burning out. Intimacy happens when we are touched personally with God’s 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 we do it without a personal touch from the Lord. On this platform, at best, we are people-pleasers. The question begs to be asked: How much is good enough and by whose standards? 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 our great big God.
Need can only drive you so far; it can’t sustain you.
What touches God’s 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 going beyond mere knowledge and entering real fellowship. We draw near to Him by faith, and as we “hide His word in our heart,” we are changed into His likeness.
Live in the Meaning
In our secular age, the original meanings of many words have been 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 the things we hear and see is paramount.
In our relationships, our intrinsic dictionaries define things based upon our understanding of the facts and our experience, rather than objective truth. Misunderstanding and confusion can reign in these environments. We have all accumulated knowledge through education, our upbringing and other life experiences. Though this knowledge is valuable, it is limited.
We must go deeper. This is where we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit, for “deeper” is not a place we can find on our own.
Jesus wants us to go beyond what we think and 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 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, we hear more clearly the personal word 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 reminds us, “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 rests 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; “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 establishes logical and natural understanding.
- Secondly, personal revelation is when what we hear and see touches our hearts through 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 through knowledge and live in the meaning.
The more attention we give personal revelation, the more we catch a clear glimpse of what the Author is saying and the more we discover His heart. Often, we remember what is personal; it touches our hearts. 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—a personal revelation from God for our lives. Doubt and questions are okay if it takes us on a pursuit to deeper living.
To the measure that we “unpack” and relearn truth, that will be the measure our recall will release power. Reflection brings us into the image of what we are meditating upon. 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 our 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 simple 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 connect with.
Living in Rest
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 through 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 our Absolute brings our renewal and refreshment. We are strengthened as we function. There is an exchange.
The work we do has a source outside us, where 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 source, we will be sustained in hope and Christ will replace our guiding fictions.
The inner stability produced by right-thinking affects every aspect of our lives. Our decisions and 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.
Worship + Meditation = Communion
Communion is the consequence of worship and meditation. As we break the bread and drink the wine, figuratively speaking, we enter His life (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 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 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.
Make Communion Your Purpose and Priority
Often, we battle with stewarding our time. Our schedules are packed with demands, but the value of the treasure cannot be told as we invest in reflecting upon God’s personal word. Inner stability and navigation of life decisions are found here.
Time is precious; we can never really manage it, but we can recognize priorities. Priorities are like maps, enabling 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 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 you breathe.