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 (I’ll give you some suggestions) from a Bible version you understand. Give yourself 30 minutes and a quiet place free from interruption. Leave your phone in another room.
2. Read the passage 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 that draw your attention. Don’t let your goal be completion of the reading but the spiritual insight God wants to show you. Discipline yourself to go slowly and not rush the experience.
4. Read it aloud a third time, pausing and meditating on what it means to you. It’ll be different for everyone but if your heart is to know God more intimately, He’ll speak to you and begin a transformation.
5. Feel free to question God about the meaning, specifically for you. Your conversation 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’ve 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 light for your life but you have to allow Him to lead. Discipline yourself this week to try a spiritual reading. Try Ps. 25:4-10, 63:1-8, John 14:1-6, or Col. 1:11-14 or choose your own verses but give yourself this gift and grow in Christ.
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)