I preached yesterday on the need to have healthy rhythm in our lives. I shared my story where I crashed and my body gave up and I was pretty much burnt out. I shared how I made some changes in my life so that this would not happen again. I shared about the physical changes, the mental changes but I also shared about the spiritual changes – namely around my relationship with Jesus Christ.
Whilst I was still spending time with Jesus regularly in that “out of rhythm” time I was really not growing in my relationship with Him until I started to do Lectio Divina (Divine reading). Lectio Divina as explained by Richard J Fosters from the book “The Road We’ve Travelled” says:
“Lectio: is a way of allowing the mind to "descend" into the heart, so that both mind and heart might be drawn into the love and goodness of God. Our goal is immersion... In its classic form, Lectio comprises four elements, although there are many variations on them with different wording and emphasis: Lectio which is (reading with a listening spirit), meditation (reflecting on what we are "hearing"), oratio (praying in response to this hearing), and contemplatio (contemplating what we will carry forward in our lives). [we can also] refer to these basic elements of lectio as listening, reflecting, praying, and obeying. When these elements are combined - regardless of sequence, for they overlap and intermingle in a circular rather than a linear way - they lead the human spirit into a dynamic interaction with the Holy Spirit.”
Intrigued? Here’s how it works.
First, we need to be listening. I personally begin by opening the Bible and spend time just listening to God in what He might be saying through the scriptures. I try to get a sense of what it would have been like to be in the times of the biblical stories, what it would have been like for the characters in the scripture, how the stories or scripture would have been originally understood. For those theologians out there it can also be called ‘exegesis' – allowing God's truth to come out and give us insight into any given thing, not us reading into what the scripture says.
Then we need to spend time reflecting on what we've read and heard. You could ask yourself some questions such as: how will what I am reading today impact me and my life? How does this passage impact my personal walk, my interactions with others, my relationships with children or my spouse?
Sometimes we can shelve the Bible because we think that it is not relevant anymore to the modern times in which we live. The fact is the times might have changed, but the principles and the truth of scripture as recorded in the Bible has not changed. We need to be reflecting and asking ourselves: how can I apply this to my life? What truth can I take on board? What changes do I need to make in my life to better reflect Christ in this particular area?
Prayer is the perfect response after listening, hearing and reflecting on the scriptures. By praying after reading the scriptures, we allow God to plant the truths we have learned to go beyond head knowledge, and to go deeper into heart knowledge. Prayer enables us to respond not just intellectually to what we have learned, but allows us to respond spiritually to the particular insights that God has given us.
The final part of this journey is obedience or obeying whatever it is that God is calling us to do as a result of our time with Him. With everything going on in life it’s very easy to put aside obedience to God because it might mean that things need to change for us. Obedience can be difficult at times but God really honours obedience. Can you think of any time in scripture where Jesus ever said "no" to His Father? When we are obedient to the prompting of the Spirit of God, we are not only pleasing God but we are also becoming more and more like Jesus. THAT can only be a good thing.
Friends I believe that we need to have healthy rhythm in our life. Lectio Divina - divine reading - helps us to do just that. We need to be listening, reflecting, praying and obeying. That kind of living honours God and benefits us immensely.
Feel free to comment below and share a question or a reflection around how doing this practice has impacted your life and growth in your relationship with Jesus.
Ps Neil Milton
Posted on Mon, December 7, 2015
by Neil Milton filed under