Nourish Your Soul

Add to your faith, virtue, knowledge.

The sayings of our mouth and the meditation of our heart.

Ps 19:14 – Let the sayings of my mouth, And the meditation of my heart, Be for a pleasing thing before Thee, O Jehovah, my rock, and my redeemer! (YLT)

What do the sayings of your mouth and the meditation of your heart reveal about who you think you are? Are they in agreement with the words of the Lord God and the meditation of his heart?

Meditating and resting.

Do you have a regular and favorite way of meditating on God’s Word and resting in his promises?

Eugene Peterson describes meditation in his book Answering God as:

“Meditate (hagah) is a bodily action; it involves murmuring and mumbling words, taking a kind of physical pleasure in making the sounds of the words, getting the feel of the meaning as the syllables are shaped by larynx and tongue and lips. Isaiah used this word “meditate” for the sounds that a lion makes over its prey (Isa 31:4). They purr and growl in pleasurable anticipation of taking in what will make them more themselves, strong, lithe, swift.”1

A Carthusian monk called Guigo described a form of meditation called Lectio Divina:

“Lectio Divina”, a Latin term, means “divine reading” and describes a way of reading the Scriptures whereby we gradually let go of our own agenda and open ourselves to what God wants to say to us. In the 12th century, a Carthusian monk called Guigo, described the stages which he saw as essential to the practice of Lectio Divina. There are various ways of practicing Lectio Divina either individually or in groups but Guigo’s description remains fundamental.

He said that the first stage is lectio (reading) where we read the Word of God, slowly and reflectively so that it sinks into us. Any passage of Scripture can be used for this way of prayer but the passage should not be too long.

The second stage is meditatio (reflection) where we think about the text we have chosen and ruminate upon it so that we take from it what God wants to give us.

The third stage is oratio (response) where we leave our thinking aside and simply let our hearts speak to God. This response is inspired by our reflection on the Word of God.

The final stage of Lectio Divina is contemplatio (rest) where we let go not only of our own ideas, plans and meditations but also of our holy words and thoughts. We simply rest in the Word of God. We listen at the deepest level of our being to God who speaks within us with a still small voice. As we listen, we are gradually transformed from within. Obviously, this transformation will have a profound effect on the way we actually live, and the way we live is the test of the authenticity of our prayer. We must take what we read in the Word of God into our daily lives.

These stages of Lectio Divina are not fixed rules of procedure but simply guidelines as to how the prayer normally develops. Its natural movement is towards greater simplicity, with less and less talking and more listening. Gradually the words of Scripture begin to dissolve, and the Word is revealed before the eyes of our heart. How much time should be given to each stage depends very much on whether it is used individually or in a group. If Lectio Divina is used for group prayer, obviously more structure is needed than for individual use. In group prayer, much will depend on the type of group. Lectio Divina may involve discussing the implications of the Word of God for daily life but it cannot be reduced to this. The movement of the prayer is towards silence. If the group is comfortable with silence, more time could be spent resting in the Word.

The practice of Lectio Divina as a way of praying the Scriptures has been a fruitful source of growing in relationship with Christ for many centuries and in our own day is being rediscovered by many individuals and groups. The Word of God is alive and active and will transform each of us if we open ourselves to receive what God wants to give us.2

Remember:

2 Pet 1:5 – I, Simon Peter, am a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. I write this to you whose experience with God is as life-changing as ours, all due to our God’s straight dealing and the intervention of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 2 Grace and peace to you many times over as you deepen in your experience with God and Jesus, our Master.

3 Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! 4 We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you — your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.

5 So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, (MSG)

Lectio.

Reading. Read the Word of God slowly and reflectively so that it sinks into you.

2 Pet 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,

2 Pet 1:6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, (ESV)

Meditatio.

Reflection. Think about the text and ruminate upon it so that you take from it what God wants to give you.

2 Pet 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,

2 Pet 1:6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, (ESV)

What word or phrase stirs you? Take some time to murmur and mumble the word/s, taking a kind of pleasure in making the sounds and getting the feel of the meaning. Take in what God wants to give you that will make you more yourself, created in his image and likeness.

2 Pet 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement…

Supplement/add: to furnish besides, i.e. fully supply aid or contribute; add, minister nourishment unto. Give, minister, to be a dance-leader; to lead, to bring forth, let go, keep, lead away, be open.3

2 Pet 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement…

Work for food that nourishes your lasting life.

John 6:27 – “Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last.” (MSG)

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,

Asking God to give you spiritual wisdom and insight.

Eph 1:17 – asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. (NLT)

…so that you might grow in your knowledge/experience of God.

Knowledge: knowing, the act; allow, be aware of, feel, perceive, be resolved, be sure, understand.4

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control

Self-control: temperance, self-restraint.5

He reasoned.

Acts 24:25 – And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.” (ESV)

Make my body my slave.

1 Cor 9:25-27 – Now every athlete in training submits himself to strict discipline, and he does it just to win a laurel wreath that will soon wither away. But we do it to win a crown that will last forever. Accordingly, I don’t run aimlessly but straight for the finish line; I don’t shadow-box but try to make every punch count. I treat my body hard and make it my slave so that, after proclaiming the Good News to others, I myself will not be disqualified. (CJB)

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness

Steadfastness: cheerful or hopeful endurance, constancy, patient continuance (waiting); bear trials, persevere, place under, especially of inferior position or condition.6

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.

Ps 37:7 – Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! (ESV)

Through the encouragement of the Scriptures.

Rom 15:4 – For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (ESV)

May the Lord direct your hearts.

2 Thess 3:5 – May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and the perseverance which the Messiah gives. (CJB)

The testing of your trust produces steadfastness.

James 1:3-4 – for you know that the testing of your trust produces perseverance. But let perseverance do its complete work; so that you may be complete and whole, lacking in nothing. (CJB)

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,

Godliness: piety, holiness; well-reverent, devout; to revere, i.e. adore.7

Formerly hidden truth underlying our faith.

1 Tim 3:16 – Great beyond all question is the formerly hidden truth underlying our faith: He [Jesus] was manifested physically and proved righteous spiritually, seen by angels and proclaimed among the nations, trusted throughout the world and raised up in glory to heaven. (CJB)

Oratio.

Response. Leave your thinking aside and simply let your heart speak to God. This response is inspired by your reflection on the Word of God.

2 Pet 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,

2 Pet 1:6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, (ESV)

 

But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. (Job 32:8 ESV)

 

Contemplatio.

Rest. Let go of your own ideas, plans and meditations, your holy words and thoughts. Simply rest in the Word of God. Listen at the deepest level of your being to God who speaks within you with a still small voice. As you listen, you are gradually transformed from within. Take what you read in the Word of God into your daily life. The way you live is the test of the authenticity of your prayer.

*****

Resources/For deeper study:

1Peterson, Eugene H. (1991). Answering God: The Psalms As Tools For Prayer (pg 26). New York, NY: HarperCollins.

2https://www.ocarm.org/en/carmelites/what-lectio-divina

3Supplement/add: NT:2023 <START GREEK>e)pixorhge/w <END GREEK> epichoregeo (ep-ee-khor-ayg-eh’-o); from NT:1909 and NT:5524; to furnish besides, i.e. fully supply, (figuratively) aid or contribute: KJV – add, minister (nourishment, unto).

NT:1909 <START GREEK>e)pi/<END GREEK> epi (ep-ee’); a primary preposition; properly, meaning superimposition (of time, place, order, etc.), as a relation of distribution [with the genitive case], i.e. over, upon, etc.; of rest (with the dat.) at, on, etc.; of direction (with the accusative case) towards, upon, etc.: KJV – about (the times), above, after, against, among, as long as (touching), at, beside,  have charge of, (be-, [wherefore-]), in (a place, as much as, the time of, -to), (because) of, (up-) on (behalf of), over, (by, for) the space of, through (-out), (un-) to (-ward), with. In compounds it retains essentially the same import, at, upon, etc. (literally or figuratively).

NT:5524 <START GREEK>xorhge/w <END GREEK> choregeo (khor-ayg-eh’-o); from a compound of NT:5525 and NT:71; to be a dance-leader, i.e. (generally) to furnish: KJV – give, minister.

NT:5525 <START GREEK>xoro/$<END GREEK> choros (khor-os’); of uncertain derivation; a ring, i.e. round dance (“choir”): KJV – dancing.

NT:71 <START GREEK>a&gw <END GREEK> ago (ag’-o); a primary verb; properly, to lead; by implication, to bring, drive, (reflexively) go, (specially) pass (time), or (figuratively) induce: KJV – be, bring (forth), carry, (let) go, keep, lead away, be open. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

4Knowledge: NT:1108 <START GREEK>gnw=si$ <END GREEK> gnosis (gno’-sis); from NT:1097; knowing (the act), i.e. (by implication) knowledge: KJV – knowledge, science.

NT:1097 <START GREEK>ginw/skw <END GREEK> ginosko (ghin-oce’-ko); a prolonged form of a primary verb; to “know” (absolutely) in a great variety of applications and with many implications (as follow, with others not thus clearly expressed): KJV – allow, be aware (of), feel, (have) know (-ledge), perceived, be resolved, can speak, be sure, understand. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

5Self-control: NT:1466 <START GREEK>e)gkra/teia <END GREEK> egkrateia (eng-krat’-i-ah); from NT:1468; self-control (especially continence): KJV – temperance.

NT:1468 <START GREEK>e)gkrath/$ <END GREEK> egkrates (eng-krat-ace’); from NT:1722 and NT:2904; strong in a thing (masterful), i.e. (figuratively and reflexively) self-controlled (in appetite, etc.): KJV – temperate. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

6Steadfastness: NT:5281 <START GREEK>u(pomonh/ <END GREEK> hupomone (hoop-om-on-ay’); from NT:5278; cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy: KJV – enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting).

NT:5278 <START GREEK>u(pome/nw <END GREEK> hupomeno (hoop-om-en’-o); from NT:5259 and NT:3306; to stay under (behind), i.e. remain; figuratively, to undergo, i.e. bear (trials), have fortitude, persevere: KJV – abide, endure, (take) patient (-ly), suffer, tarry behind.

NT:5259 <START GREEK>u(po/ <END GREEK> hupo (hoop-o’); a primary preposition; under, i.e. (with the genitive case) of place (beneath), or with verbs (the agency or means, through); (with the accusative case) of place (whither [underneath] or where [below] or time (when [at]): KJV – among, by, from, in, of, under, with. In comp. it retains the same general applications, especially of inferior position or condition, and specifically, covertly or moderately.

NT:3306 <START GREEK>me/nw <END GREEK> meno (men’-o); a primary verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy): KJV – abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry (for),  thine own. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

7Godliness: NT:2150 <START GREEK>eu)se/beia <END GREEK> eusebeia (yoo-seb’-i-ah); from NT:2152; piety; specially, the gospel scheme: KJV – godliness, holiness.

NT:2152 <START GREEK>eu)sebh/$ <END GREEK> eusebes (yoo-seb-ace’); from NT:2095 and NT:4576; well-reverent, i.e. pious: KJV – devout, godly.

NT:4576 <START GREEK>se/bomai <END GREEK> sebomai (seb’-om-ahee); middle voice of an apparently primary verb; to revere, i.e. adore: KJV – devout, religious, worship. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

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