Five minutes. A mere five minutes.
Left unattended and within moments our cute Christmas puppy produced mass mayhem in our quaint courtyard. Pots overturned. Dirt scattered everywhere. All done in a blink of an eye.
I’ve been reading through the book of 1 Thessalonians since the start of the New Year. I’m intentionally a slow reader. There have been periods in my Christian walk when I hurried through my quiet time. My main objective was to “get er done.” My primary focus was on the quantity of my reading, not quality. I would inhale large chunks of Scripture, without much soaking in. Very little life transformation taking place.
But then I realized I needed to allow the Holy Spirit some space. I needed to carve out more time. And more importantly, I needed to let go of control. Pause. Savoring one word at a time.
No objective in mind.
May I suggest a contemplative approach to God’s Word. An approach that is slow. Repetitive. And covered with prayer.
READ. Simply read. And then read it again and again and again. Ask God to speak to you and go ahead and speak to Him too. Scripture is meant to be engaging. You can ask God a question, repent of your sin, share your fears, and even practice a worshipful tune. Perk up your ears and listen. What would happen if you began to anxiously await for God to speak to you?
MEDITATE. Seriously, have you ever tried it? It’s not something only for yoga class or people named Gandhi. IT IS FOR NOW. FOR YOU. Not only for the super intelligent, or religious…or elderly, or hipster. Ordinary people like you and me can take God’s Word and think about it. Not forcing a mystical experience. Not forcing the hand of God. Simply slowing down and setting our hearts affections on who God is and what He has already accomplished.
When we interact with God’s Word, we begin to see unexpected connections. The dot-to-dots of our individual lives become intertwined with Scripture. We see how we behave like a wandering, wilderness people and crater like doubting Thomas. We giggle alongside a surprised, 90-year-old Sarah and sadly relate to a “3x rejecting Jesus” kind of Peter. As light is shed on our own thoughts and experiences, God illuminates His truth and exposes our waywardness. Unexpected connections are made and His Word speaks personally to us. Our issues. Our hopes. Our desires.
PRAY. This is our conversational response back to God. And although you may think of prayer as a one-way street, in actuality, it is a time for you to listen as well. It is a time of response back to God. A time of praise. A time of worship. A time of joy and repentance. Ask God to take His Words into the most private, hidden places of your heart. Within those deep crevices, there is still work to be done. Ask Jesus to heal you and set you free.
CONTEMPLATE. Allow the words God has spoken to you to simmer. Let them sink in and transform you. Entrust yourself to His will…His ways…and His wonder. Fight the temptation to hurry Him. Remain in Him, and He in you (John 15:4). Permit the Holy Spirit to continue to speak as you go forward to fulfill His purposes throughout your day.
I find the Holy Spirit is more likely to speak to me when I am in a posture of reverence, ready to listen. What does your daily quiet time look like? What has been most helpful in aiding your spiritual growth?