Openness

April 16, 2018

"One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple."
(Psalm 27:4, NIV)


    According to Brian Rice, one of the goals of spiritual formation is to develop a "large-hearted openness and generosity towards God." We often sing about God’s goodness and generosity towards us, but the idea of me being generous towards God was not something that had occurred to me. As I tried to ponder what it would look like to have a “large-hearted openness and generosity towards God,” my mind went back to when my children were little.

    When my boys were babies, my mom took care of them two days a week while I went to work. Though she had a rather full schedule herself, she willingly dropped everything to look after her grandchildren. She especially loved it when they were teeny-tiny. She’d spend hours just holding a sleeping baby, overwhelmed by how much love and adoration she felt for an itty-bitty human being. She jokingly called them “my little time-wasters” because even though she could have gotten other things done while my boys were in her care, she chose to neglect everything else and give Graham and Chandler her undivided attention.

    This is what a “large-hearted openness and generosity” towards another person looks like. Do I have that towards God?

    What would it look like if I spent time each week “wasting time” with God? Could I simply sit in His presence without asking for anything, without seeking knowledge or insight or provision? Without even saying a word? Could I let myself be consumed by love for Him, marvelling in the wonder of how beautiful He is? Am I willing to neglect everything that clamours for my attention and simply be present to the One who is always present to me?

    The Kingdom principal that defies our understanding is that when we “waste time” gazing at the beauty of His majesty, we are transformed into His likeness (I Cor. 3:18). I spend so much time trying to work myself into the likeness of Christ, when it turns out that transformation has nothing to do with me trying harder and everything to do with me fixing my gaze on the One who can transform me.

    This requires patience.

    Stillness.

    Inactivity.

    Intentionality.

    A deliberate choice NOT to multi-task, but to give my undivided attention to God.

    And these things do not come naturally to me. Yet, I believe that this is one way that I can experience “large-hearted openness and generosity towards God.” So I’m learning to grow in the discipline of “being.” I’m scheduling time to simply sit with Jesus, with no other agenda except to delight in His presence and gaze upon His majesty. It looks a bit like this:

 

 

For Reflection:

"You lead me in the path of life; I experience absolute joy in Your presence; You always give me sheer delight." (Psalm 16:11, NET)

  1. Today will you turn off your devices, close your agenda, put down your books, and take a few minutes to "gaze on the beauty of the Lord and seek Him in His temple"? (By the way, His temple is now within you, so it should be easy enough to find! See 1 Cor. 3:16.)

  2. Will you open wide your heart to Him and let yourself be changed by His glory?

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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