Summary: Introduction to Meditation along with 4 practical applications. Apropriate for an audience who is unfamiliar with the Spiritual Disciplines.
Spiritual Discipline of Meditation
Grant van Boeschoten
January 14, 2007
Sometimes in life there are difficulties that cannot be overcome by willpower alone. We try on our own resolve and our own strength to solve life’s problems and to live the way that God intended for us to live. But on our own strength we find ourselves coming up short.
An athlete who wants to run a race knows that willpower alone will not bring success. The athlete must also train his body and his mind to be a better runner.
Willpower alone is not enough to draw near to God.
You can have all the right motives, and still do things the wrong way.
Why is it that willpower is not a strong enough force? It is because as human beings we are incapable of succeeding on our own strength. We were created to rely on God, and when we try to just rely on ourselves, and our own strength we inevitably find ourselves falling well short of the goal.
At the core level, most people want to draw near to God. At the core level most people want for their life to count for something. Many of us have tried to achieve fulfillment and purpose by our own means, willpower, and have fallen short of what God has called us to.
Here is why; Willpower alone is not enough to draw near to God.
I just bought a new Bible called the The Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible and in the introduction it says “We cannot by direct effort make ourselves into the kind of people who can live fully alive to God. Only God can accomplish this in us. Only God can incline our heart towards him…We do not, for example, become humble merely by trying to become humble. Action on our own would make us all the more proud of our humility. No, we instead train with Spiritual Disciplines appropriate to our need. In this particular example that would most surely involve learning numerous acts of service towards others, which would incline us toward the good of all people.
…We present ourselves as living sacrifices to God and in his own way God produces in us things far greater than we could ever ask for our think of – in this case a life growing in and overflowing with the grace of humility.” (pg xxxiv)
The Spiritual Disciplines are a form of training. Recognizing that good intentions are not enough, they push us to live life to a higher standard. They help us to develop healthy patterns in life that draw us close to God. These disciplines take our good intentions and help them to become our reality and our destiny.
God has a plan for each person’s life. That plan cannot happen just by good intentions though, it will take training.
“It is vitally important for us to see spiritual training in the context of the work and action of God’s grace.” (Renovare Bible)
for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Phil 2:13 (NRSV)
There is a temptation to take on the Disciplines with a legalistic approach. You figure that it is an act of work, it is something that you can accomplish.
Richard Foster was recorded in a conversation with Dallas Willard as saying the Disciplines simply allow us to place ourselves before God so that he can transform us.