If you listen closely enough across the Christian traditions, every one of them have a language for that ‘slowing down to be with God’ necessity. This is the phrase Peter Scezzaro uses in his book ‘Health Emotional Leadership’ that I’m currently working through.
The new charismatic Christian terminology is ‘soaking.’ A good evangelical or reformed word for it is ‘abiding’, using biblical language that John’s gospel uses. The contemplative tradition would call it contemplation or meditation. You might say ‘waiting on God’ or taking care of your ‘devotional life’. This is what Paul was talking about, I believe, when he said ‘Pray continually’.
Whatever the language, here is the crux: relationship with God is foundational. No, not just squeezing in a bit of prayer and a reading…that is perhaps a modern day convenient reduction, important as it is. The kind of thing I’m talking about here is the development of that continual sense of being in God’s presence, knowing that he is closer to you than you are to yourself.
I fundemantally believe this is where much of the transformation of our Christian experience comes in. When we live out of that sense of being fundamentally and radically being known and loved.
Like everyone else, I battle the diary to make sure I get my reading in, my sabbath in, my journaling, my intercessory prayer in…but one thing I don’t struggle with is that sense of abiding, of keeping and cultivating an open door to God. Much as I’d like to be more disciplined with all the other stuff, I know that if the door is closed then the ministry doesn’t flow.
If I’m living out of what Scezzaro calls ‘deeper union’ I know it. If I’m not, I definetely feel the pinch. Life becomes unsustainable. Ministry becomes dry and that’s no good to anyone.
Be like Jesus. Climb the mountain. Slip away early. Take yourself out of the way. Avoid the crowd. When you have the chance to cultivate and keep that union flowing, then the other things will come and find their rightful place.
Abide in him.