Section One: The Spiritual Characteristics of a Godly Life.
Our current theme: Characteristic Four: Being A Warrior.
Our reading for today: Joshua 1: 7-11(MsgB)
Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.
So there you have it, my friends.
For those of us who diligently desire to follow Jesus with every step we take, the Holy Scriptures are brimming with encouraging words like the ones we find here in the Book of Joshua.
Isn’t it interesting how these words found near the beginning of the Bible are so very similar in nature to Paul’s words found near the end?
And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. Ephesians 6: 10-18
Apparently, from God’s perspective, every generation will need to hear strong words of encouragement in order to keep on keepin’ on for the cause of Christ. So as we close this portion of our blog study, let me offer you a tool…an ancient discipline…that past generations of Christ-followers have used to keep their hearts encouraged and their minds engaged.
The tool is called Lectio Divina. That’s a fancy Latin phrase that simply means ‘divine reading’ of God’s Word. Lectio Divina is an ancient practice of listening deeply for the voice of God speaking through the sacred texts we call the Bible. As I see it, if we are to be the godly men and women of this generation who are called, like Joshua in his generation and Paul in his, to go out into our world with the love of Christ working through us, it will be necessary, as Paul states, to pick up The Sword of God’s Word and carry it bravely through both good times and bad.
Lectio Divina is vastly different from most other types of Bible study used in our culture today. In a generation where bigger is better, more is preferred over less, and fast is the speed of choice, Lectio Divina goes against that flow, insisting that you and I slow down, taking the extra time needed to ponder and meditate on God’s Word, rather than speed our way through it. Author of The Message Bible, Eugene Peterson, states this about Lectio Divina (from the book, Eat This Book):
There is only one way of reading that is congruent with our Holy Scriptures…This is the kind of reading named by our ancestors as Lectio Divina, often translated as “spiritual reading,” reading that enters our souls as food, enters our stomachs, spreads through our blood, and becomes holiness and love and wisdom.
I’ve found, in recent years, as I utilize the fine art of Lectio Divina, that it is a great tool for the practice of listening, pondering, and truly enjoying the Presence of God as I read. I like to think of it as reading slow and listening between the lines, which can often provide a powerful encounter with the heart of God.
So as we move further into our blog study on Christian discipleship, I suggest that you take the scripture we offer at the beginning of each session, and rather than rushing right through it, or skipping it all-together, you find a comfy chair, pour a delicious cup of coffee, and linger long on each word and phrase of the scripture for the day. Ask the Holy Spirit to read along with you as you prayerfully ponder and mediate on the Word of God. As the Lord spoke to Joshua…
Ponder and meditate on (God’s Word) day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.
My prayer: Father God, slow me down through the ancient discipline of Lectio Divina so that I might go fast for the purposes of Your Kingdom. May I become one who ponders, meditates on, and practices the Word of God. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: What changes do I need to make in my day-to-day schedule so that I might make some extra room and space in my life for practicing the fine art of Lectio Divina? Am I willing to slow down my busy-ness, taking a few extra long breaths of God’s peace, so that the Spirit might move mightily in me as I ponder, mediate on, and practice God’s Word?
So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?
Over a thirty-six week period, you and I will take a deeper look into twelve key characteristics of a godly life. In other words, we’ll take A Journey into Christian Discipleship. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Journey home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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