This is post #11 in a twelve blog/podcast series entitled REAL LIFE CHRISTIANITY. In this series, we’ll look at very practical matters like how we must learn to love and honor both ourselves and others in order to be the Christ-centered followers the Master wants us to be here in the twenty-first century. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
Our Lectio Divina for today: Proverbs 4: 1-10 (MsgB)
Listen, friends, to some fatherly advice; sit up and take notice so you’ll know how to live. I’m giving you good counsel; don’t let it go in one ear and out the other. When I was a boy at my father’s knee, the pride and joy of my mother, he would sit me down and drill me: “Take this to heart. Do what I tell you—live! Sell everything and buy Wisdom! Forage for Understanding! Don’t forget one word! Don’t deviate an inch! Never walk away from Wisdom—she guards your life; love her—she keeps her eye on you. Above all and before all, do this: Get Wisdom! Write this at the top of your list: Get Understanding! Throw your arms around her—believe me, you won’t regret it; never let her go—she’ll make your life glorious. She’ll garland your life with grace, she’ll festoon your days with beauty.” Dear friend, take my advice; it will add years to your life.
So in a culture that tends to “shoo” away the children, keeping them busy and preoccupied with activities from sunrise to well-past sunset, I believe there is a move of God going on in our midst. This move of the Holy Spirit is offering a much-needed respite to parents and children alike. A slowing down, so to speak. An opportunity to break from the activity-driven, stress-producing lifestyles we’ve all grown accustomed to here in our westernized culture, where busy-ness is seen as a positive, and slowing-down is a sign of weakness.
As I see it, there’s a call of the Spirit wooing us, as in our passage today in Proverbs, to the gift of wisdom. A discernment of life that doesn’t come from doing more, but only by slowing down, learning to listen, and then living a life where less is more.
You see, as a baby-boomer, I believe my generation was taught that “success” in this life is defined by how much I can accumulate, not by how well I live my life. Thus, our generation has become the gold-standard in modeling a life that is lived well by keeping busy. Even our Christianity has become defined by how much work you and I can do for Jesus. Or as the old joke on a bumper sticker reads…
Jesus is coming back soon…look busy!
So now, here at the beginnings of the 21st century, followers of Christ are being given a unique opportunity to “step out of the traffic” of our modern-day lives and re-learn some of the ancient disciplines of a slow, sustainable, and simple lifestyle; one that reflects the balance and wisdom of past generations who learned that running with the culture is vastly different from walking with Jesus.
This ancient model of the well-balanced, sustainable life of a disciple of Christ has been defined in many ways over the centuries. The term many are starting to use today is contemplative activism. A contemplative activist is one whose lifestyle is intentionally, well-balanced within, what I like to call, the 3-C’s:
- Communion with Christ. Quality time spent in silence, solitude & contemplative prayer with Jesus of Nazareth, the Master,
- Community with others. A Christ-centered community of friends where agape love is learned and modeled amongst members of that community, and…
- Commission into the world. As we listen carefully to the Spirit, encouraging one another in community, Jesus sends us out into our world to literally love “the hell” (agape) out of our neighbors both near and far.
We delve deeper into these 3-C’s in other sections of our website, but for now, suffice to say that there is no better place to bring this 3-pronged balanced lifestyle into being than in our homes and families. Wisdom and godly discernment, you see, is a gift from above and when moms and dads start asking the Lord for how our families can slow down and begin living intentional, Spirit-directed lives, the world will begin to change, one household at a time!
So, my friends, I say let’s find creative new ways to stop the busy-ness of our culture and begin to ask the Master to slow us down, bringing a breath of His fresh air to our stressed-out, over-driven, under-supplied home lives that currently are so filled with activity, we lose track of which end is up.
Anybody ready for a real rest?
I think I hear the Spirit wooing us to His wisdom.
My prayer: Father God, it’s very apparent that our generation has its foot stuck on the life accelerator, running through this world at the speed of busy. Our children have become the victims of a society that never stops, never rests, and never learns to take a deep breath. I, for one, choose to step out of the traffic and want to learn the fine art of wisdom. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So where is my life stuck on fast? How am I teaching my children to live their lives? What are they learning about life, and how to live it, as they watch me each day? What changes do I need to make in my schedule, and the schedule of my family, so that we’re choosing to step out of the traffic, and learning a simple and sustainable lifestyle of balance and rest?
So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?
Thank you for joining us on this 12-session journey we call Real-Life Christianity. We suggest you bookmark our blog/podcast homepage for this series to keep all the blogs and podcasts in one place for your future reference.
Oh, and if you enjoy what you’re reading here, we encourage you to share this page and our website, The Contemplative Activist, with your friends!