Lent is a season that calls Christians into spiritual disciplines that direct our focus to God and our need for Him. Every time we journey through Lent, I make sure to read Richard Foster’s excellent book Celebration of Discipline (a copy can be found in the church library) which walks through a number of spiritual disciplines a Christian can practice. One such discipline into which Christians are invited is that of meditation. “Christian meditation,” Foster says, “very simply, is the ability to hear God’s voice and obey his word” (Foster, Celebration of Discipline, 17).
While this would appear to be one of the easiest things a Christian can do, I would guess it is one of the least practiced of all disciplines in today’s fast paced society because it requires us to stop. When was the last time you stopped everything you were doing? I mean, literally, everything. When was the last time you just sat in a quiet space with nothing to distract you?
When was the last time you stopped everything you were doing?
It is hard. I will be the first to admit it! Even if you put your phone on silent and turn off the TV, computer, and tablet, distracting thoughts are still ever present. What am I missing on Facebook/Twitter/Snapchat/Instagram (pick whichever social media vice you fancy)? Did I remember to reply to that urgent email? What was I supposed to pick up at the grocery store on my way home from work? Do the kids have dance or basketball tonight? And on, and on, and on.
We live in such a fast paced world that we have become accustomed to having to multitask while our brains are flooded with information—it’s how we operate today which presents a challenge when trying to put aside distractions to listen to God. Like I said before, practicing the discipline of Christian meditation is a challenge—even when it is part of your job! But the benefits of going away with God to listen as He speaks are immeasurable.
God is always speaking to us but we too often crowd Him out with the busyness of our day. When we hear God’s voice—his affirming, encouraging, and life-giving voice—we become surer of who we are and what we are to do. Would you take a few minutes right now to practice this spiritual disciple of listening and obeying God’s voice? Ask God to help you put aside anything that would distract you from hearing Him and allow Him to speak! It may not be easy but as you do this more I am confident that you will discover the sweetness of taking time to listen to God speak.
Photo: "Eastman Johnson, Child at Prayer, circa 1873" by Eastman Johnson - ArtDaily.com. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eastman_Johnson,_Child_at_Prayer,_circa_1873.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Eastman_Johnson,_Child_at_Prayer,_circa_1873.jpg
Pastor J-M shares some occasional thoughts and musings on our life together as followers of Christ. The views are his own.