I am reading and working through a book by Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline. In my study of the Puritans and Reformers, I realized that they had something that I don't have, something I deeply desire: a disciplined life characterized by an intimate relationship with the Lord of Glory.
Richard Foster lists meditation, prayer, fasting, study as the inward disciplines. Outward disciplines include simplicity, solitude, submission, and service. Corporate disciplines are confession, worship, guidance and celebration.
I have been studying meditation this week.
My first reaction is to desire meditation, yet wonder if I will have the strength of character and patience to pursue the living God in this manner. Lord, give me that desire.
The basic difference between eastern meditation and Christian meditation is that eastern seeks to empty oneself to the point of losing one’s personhood and becoming detached from the world, while Christian meditation knows that detachment is not enough: we must go on to ATTACHMENT to Christ. We must give ourselves freely to God.
My life is crowded by trivial pursuits such as computer games, and more important tasks such as being a wife to my husband, managing my home, training my children, and ministering to the Patriarch’s Wives. I am busy, but much of what I am busy at is unnecessary and foolish. Television robs me of time. I need to learn to redeem the time and use my moments wisely.
I do have a desire to hear the Lord’s voice in the midst of all the clutter. Lord, make it so.
Only to sit and think of God;
Oh what a joy it is!
To think the thought, to breathe the Name
Earth has no higher bliss.
~Frederick W. Faber
To sit and think of God requires focussing my attention on Him - on His beauty, majesty, power, awesome acts of Creation, marvellous plan of salvation, and great grace.
I am undone; unworthy. It is humbling to approach such glory when I am so full of sin.
To consider that He not only allows me to approach, but encourages and welcomes me, knowing my frame, can only produce amazement at His grace and mercy.
His mercy endures forever.
Philippians 3:8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
9 ¶ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;
10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
That I may know Him... I don’t just want to know of Him...I don’t simply want to know what the Bible says or where this doctrine is found. I want a living relationship with the God of the Universe. I want to bask in His presence and tremble at the thought of shaking my fist in His face. I want to feel Him with me moment by moment through every day, through every little trial and irritation. I want, selfishly, that He should transform me and give me more of His grace and wisdom. I must learn self-control. I cannot do that apart from Him, apart from surrendering to His control.
I am sick of the hypocrisy I see in my life. I drip words of wisdom and encourage others to get their eyes off of themselves and onto the Lord of Glory, then I turn and treat my husband shamefully when he doesn’t come to the table on time for a meal. This ought not to be so.
James 3:10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
What an encouragement the next few verses of Philippians are!
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
I press on, because Christ has laid hold of me. I press on, because He called me to Himself and He is leading me by His grace. I forget those things that are behind, those accomplishments I have achieved, but I remember His grace and mercy, and I remember my sins and my faults, so I can be ever thankful for His mercy and love. I press towards the goal: God! Jesus! Heaven! Grace! Mercy! God’s glory! I press on, ever mindful of His mercy and grace in my life.
I press on.
Father God, thank You so much for Your grace in my life. Thank You that even when I sin, it is of Your good pleasure to reveal to me the deepest, darkest recesses of my soul. Oh, Lord, give me the grace to live for You. I want to die to sin, and live as a slave to the Master. My life is not my own; I was bought with a price - the precious blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world, including my sin. I praise You, I glorify Your name. I give thanks to You. In Christ’s glorious name, I pray. Amen.