Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Awareness of God

Image by Ampliato [ Edu ] via Flickr Verdadeiro Amor 1 - True love 1

Before one can be aware of God He must first reveal Himself to that person.  The method that God draws us into awareness is through love.  "For God so Loved the world..."  We are drawn to His love when we become aware of the Love of God through the Gospel then we enter a relationship with Him.  Our awareness becomes intimately connected through the person of Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Knowing God is not understanding some theological truth.  Often we seek intellectual knowledge of God.  This pursuit is indeed admirable, but should never replace the intimacy of knowing God.  Like all relationships awareness comes from spending time with the person that you are relating.  This for the Christian requires time spent reading, meditating, praying over, reflecting, and applying God's word.  Christian mindfulness then is rooted in the understanding of the word of God and how God is using His word in your life.

Do you want to have greater mindfulness of God?  It must start with reading of the Bible and meditation on His Word.  There are many strategies for studying and meditating on God's word. 

Let me draw a distinction before discussing this between meditation and devotional thoughts.  If I shared with you how much I love my wife.  I would tell you about her loyalty, devotion, strength of character, her amazing insight, gift of discernment, and her devoted love for our family.  Does this help you know my wife?  Or does it just help you know about her? 

Devotionals are nice.  They are an experience that someone has had with God that they then put into words.  This blog is me sharing what God has done or revealed in my life.  If the only spiritual food you get is from devotional thoughts or what someone else has written about God then you will gain much knowledge about God without ever coming to a place of knowing Him. 

Devotional thoughts also lack staying power in my estimation.  Perhaps you have experienced this for yourself.  You hear or read a wonderful devotional thought.  Perhaps an accompanying verse from the Bible.  You are lucky to remember that thought a few minutes later by a few hours later it is gone.  You remember that it was good, but have no recollection of what it was.  Meditation on the other hand forces you into greater awareness and resulting challenge and change.  You cannot forget meditations (if sincere) for they are written on the heart and not in the fading stream of our consciousness. Before you go throwing out those devotionals let me say that a devotional can become a meditation if You allow God's word (key God's word and not man's) to be written on your heart.  If it is not written on our hearts then devotions just become nice uplifting words that make us feel good when we read them (and not much more).  

So how do we meditate? 

The time of day is morning, evening, and through the day.  There is a strong connection between the "prayer without ceasing" and meditations.  When we start our day with a meditation it gives the Spirit of God to give us our daily need.  The Bible is filled with images of dining on the Word of God.  In the evening it gives us opportunity to reflect on the goodness of God's provision.  Through the day is where awareness and action meet.  This is Christian mindfulness. 

Who or What Should be the Object of Our Meditation?

God's Word
God's Truth
God's Way
God's Instruction
God's Work
God's Blessing

A Basic Scripture Meditation

Pick a text
Pray for God to illumine the text
With contemplation read the text (3 times)
1st Reading with goal of understanding the Context
Pause of contemplation and prayer
2nd Reading with the goal of understanding the words
Pause of contemplation and prayer
3rd Reading with the goal of understanding the whole
Pause of contemplation and prayer
Then Ask God in light of this truth �How to I apply this to my day/life.�
Write down your spiritual insight and application
Use this insight as a meditation that you reflect on through the day.

Some things to note
  • Being distracted is normal gently bring you mind back from wandering
  • Effective meditation takes practice (lots of it)
  • Consistency will have the biggest pay off
  • With practice you can achieve a state of mindfulness with a short meditation You do this by setting your mind on the Spirit (ie spiritual insight and/or application)