Spiritual Disciplines: Spiritual Reading
The only reason you may be remotely interested in the spiritual disciplines is your hunger to know God in a deeper way. That’s all you need. A disciple of Christ is one who wants to be more like Him today than he was yesterday. That doesn’t come by osmosis; it takes your time and your focus in specific ways. Let’s talk about scripture reading, for example. The mystics and the Desert Saints called it ‘spiritual reading’ and later it was called Lectio Divina. Your time and focus on God’s Word enables you to think about Him as directed by the Holy Spirit. It brings you into His real presence and fellowship. Does that sound too deep? It’s not. Check this out and see how simple and yet powerful it can be:
1. Choose a section of scripture that you’d like to read (I’ll give you some suggestions). Find a time when you won’t be rushed (at least 30 min.) and a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. Be sure the version you choose is written in understandable language (New Living Translation) and leave your phone in another room.
2. Read the passage through silently. Your focus is to find out what God is saying to you personally. Remember, Jesus is the Word and He loves to communicate with His people.
3. Read the verses again but slower this time. Stop and think about the words the Spirit draws to your attention. Don’t let your goal be the completion but on the spiritual insight He wants to show you. Discipline yourself to go slowly and not rush the experience.
4. Read it aloud this third time, pausing and meditating on what it means to you. It will be different for everyone but if your heart is to know God more intimately, He will speak to you and it will transform you every time.
5. As you read it aloud question God about the meaning, specifically for you. Your communication with Him will probably flow into prayer. That’s OK; prayer usually flows out of His Word, however, keep going back to those original verses and let them sink down into your heart; they were written for you.
6. Finally, contemplate or rest in what He has said to you. You have been face-to-face with God in His Word and you know Him a little better.
That’s how uncomplicated Lectio Divina can be. Your heart communicating with God’s heart. As you meditate on those verses you may find God reminding you of memories, experiences, feelings, or hopes that are nestled away in your heart. Talk to Him about them; His Word is meant to be a lamp and a light for your life but you have to allow Him to lead. Discipline yourself this week to try a spiritual reading: Ps. 25:4-10, 63:1-8, John 14:1-6, or Col. 1:11-14.
So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image. (2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT)