Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How to construct Love

Declaration 2:  This new creation that is me converses with her God every day: through prayer, reading and memorizing his word, still listening, and private worship; for

Love is built one moment at a time.

In our highly literate society, with the prevalence of words and shocking availability of scripture, I find a tendency towards reading about scripture…instead of reading scripture.  As western one-third-world dwellers, we’re more likely to attend a study taught by a favorite celebrity-teacher than to crack open our Bible with a group of believers.  We prefer readily distilled and easily digested lessons gleaned from others, from their scriptural immersion, to wading into the ocean of scripture for ourselves.  Why? 
We [myself first and foremost] can quote movies and books, sing entire operas, recite plays, speeches, and poems; even relate our favorite jokes.  But can only vaguely paraphrase the Holy Scriptures in our own tongue.  Memorization feels cumbersome, tiring, and more like a chore than the delight of a soul in love.

I lift friends and family and my needs up in prayer; tossing them to God like a last-ditch lateral with the clock working against me and the day pressing in like the defensive line: “here, take this; I’m about to be sacked.”  I ask questions, but don’t tarry for their answer.  More “status update/tweet” than genuine conversation. 
Worship.  This is the most embarrassing of all.  I worship corporately, I sing in the car.  But in my own house, all alone, I struggle to loose myself in it.  When it does overtake me, surprising and without warning, I pull back; like over-thinking a passionate kiss.  I should revel in the emotion and immediacy of it.  I should ache for it; physically crave it, as a lover craves her beloved’s touch.  But in the drought I have forgotten romance, left the flame of passion untended.  In doing so, my soul has become brittle; and my attempts increasingly awkward.      

How will I fall in love, if I never listen to the One for whom my soul longs?  How will I stay in love, if I let the day-to-day overrun spending time in Love?  How will I experience love, if I rebuff its intimate advances?
Today, I have resolved to pray as a lover.  I want to know my beloved; know his ways, his desires, what makes him happy, what makes him sad.  This means I have to listen.  I have to spend time alone with him.  I must be still.  Today, I have resolved to read the Holy Scriptures.  Every.  Single.  Day.  And to memorize it, that it might become the delight of my soul.  Today, I have resolved to worship; sometimes through music, through poetry, through enjoying beauty, through recognition of who God is.  And to let this worship fill me with pleasure and a growing desire for more of God. 

When I pray, I will begin with Richard Foster’s “Prayer of Relinquishment” so that I may set aside all of me to become more immersed in Christ.  Then I will be still; and listen.  Even if all I hear is silence, resting in the presence of God will be exactly what my soul needs.

The Officer began a new reading plan, and has shared it with me.  While I haven’t followed it as strictly as he, it is teaching me the discipline of carving out specific time every day, for God’s word.  A list of other plans can be found here, at David Platt’s Radical Experiment website.

I am going to shut the windows, draw the blinds, and silence the phone.  Then I will put on music and sing at the top of my lungs [even if it scares the dog] to my God.  I might dance a bit.  I might talk out loud to Him about how spectacularly awesome He is.  I might watch videos, or listen to lectures, or read the Ontological argument to try to wrap my mind around His majesty.  I might go outside and wonder at the petals of a flower, the quaking of leaves, or the stately grace of the mountain; and offer praises to the Creator.  But whatever I do, I will do in private; as a lover delights in her beloved.  I will save my worship for my God and create an intimacy in our relationship that is the picture of my love for God.

I encourage you to find ways to read, memorize, pray, listen, and worship daily.  I know that everyone’s lives look different; that we’re all in different places in our walks with the Lord.  Just don’t let creation become more important than the Creator.  And know that whatever you do, God will delight in meeting you right there, and with songs and rejoicing will overwhelm you with His love.

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