I've "said" this before - both in this space and in my books - If I had to point to just one resource that unerringly leads me into a deep and meaningful spiritual place, then that resource would certainly have to be the Bible.
I'm not diminishing anything else; it's just that, at this particular season in my personal spiritual journey, the scriptures have been speaking to me with remarkable clarity. I begin each day with a short Bible reading, and God's Word for me never fails to come through.
However, since I've opened up this conversation, let me simply bullet point those elements that I find to be indispensable in terms of nurturing and growing my commitment to be a faithful Follower of the Way of Jesus.
- Daily Bible reading
- Prayer that runs - like a computer operating system - behind and around every waking moment ("prayer without ceasing").
- Regular worship in the context of a faith community
- Commitment to and participation in the life of that faith community
- Membership in a "covenant group", a small-group where I can experience encouragement, support and accountability
- Ongoing study via continuing education classes and a constant diet of inspirational books
There's much more, of course. I could also talk about deliberately exposing myself to great music, art and architecture - and not just because much of this was created by people who were motivated by their faith, but because all beauty and truth points to the Creator and enriches our journey. And so I'd have to add hiking in the wilderness, walking the beaches, and travel to witness the amazing beauty of this good Earth...
...But I started today's post with a simple statement so we wouldn't have to cover all of that. So I'll close with the beautiful passage of scripture that set my thoughts in motion just a few minutes ago. It's a long selection (18 verses) but well worth the read. The psalm ends with the following familiar words, "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
Here are the first 18 verses. Read them carefully, and allow God some room in your world today.
1 You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.