Shut up and listen!

This week's devotional is from Pastor Art Greco.

ENCOUNTER

There was a tradition in evangelical circles when I first chose to follow Christ.  It was so revered that the practice of it was a virtual measure of true faith.  Some may remember it.  It was called, “the daily quiet time”.  So widely assumed was it as a part of the regular routine of all true Christians that it was usually personalized – referred to as, “MY” or “YOUR” daily quiet time. 

And it was just that: QUIET.  A person would go to a special place (often the same place each day), sit alone, read a devotional or portion of Scripture, reflect on what they had read, and pray in response. In other words, it was entirely normal for some expression of silence and listening to be a major part of the regular diet in Christian formation. Though not completely gone, it seems as though that spiritual practice may on the decline.

But regardless of current trends, “Be still and know...” is still a loving, encouraging command God gives us.  Listening continues to be crucial to the task of ongoing formation. As Pastor Jeff reminded us through is message on the 24th, change is possible.  Part of what all the great saints of Christian history would join God in reminding us, though, is that silence, stillness, the ability to listen as God speaks in his still, small voice, is a key component in the transformation we all need and most of us desire.

BE REFLECTIVE

Let’s think about the value of silence.  Begin by letting God remind you of some of what the Bible teaches about it.  Here are some passages that you might find helpful. Be sure to jot down any insights you gain from reading them.  Some have found that reading the texts aloud, even when you’re by yourself, is sometimes helpful.

Oh, and be sure not to shy away from the practice of an extended silence.  The handful of seconds we introduced last Sunday was a good “taste,” but longer periods of quiet reflection could be much more productive.

BE A BLESSING

Pray in response to any of the insights you’ve written down or remembered from you time of quiet reading and reflection. Specifically, pray and ask God to bring to mind people who might be greatly encouraged or blessed to hear what you have heard – then bless them by sharing it with them.  But be careful, this isn’t about you correcting them.  This is more of a pastoral opportunity than a prophetic one.  Who might discover new wind beneath their wings – increased hope in their hearts by hearing you speak of what God has shown you?  Give them a call or an email and let them share in the bounty of it.

BE TOGETHER

It’s a bit more challenging to make it happen, but might you consider adding to your blessing by getting together with others to share what you are hearing from the Lord? Could there be something you could gain from listening to what others have discovered when they practiced the discipline of listening?  

One of the original, defining questions of people in early Covenant churches was, “How is it with you and Jesus?”  Perhaps we could all benefit by reviving that kind of conversation, and adding yet another question to it – one like, “What are you hearing from the Holy Spirit these days?” I’m pretty sure that kid of discussion would be HUGELY formational.