Work for Food that Nourishes Your Lasting Life

Add to your faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, and godliness

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 1:1-6 – 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,6 alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder,

Lectio.

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

2 Pet 1:5-6 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,

2 Pet 1:7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. (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 1:5-6 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,

2 Pet 1:7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. (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.

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

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, 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.4

Christ Jesus, our godliness.

1 Tim 3:16 – This Christian life is a great mystery, far exceeding our understanding, but some things are clear enough: He appeared in a human body, was proved right by the invisible Spirit, was seen by angels. He was proclaimed among all kinds of peoples, believed in all over the world, taken up into heavenly glory. (MSG)

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, and godliness with brotherly affection

Brotherly kindness: fraternal affection; kindness, love of brothers and sisters, love feasts.5

Love feasts: These love feasts arose from the common meals of the early churches. They may have had this origin in the private meals of Jewish households, with the addition of the observance of the Lord’s Supper. There were similar common meals among the pagan religious brotherhoods. In later times the love feasts became detached from the Lord’s Supper.6

Brotherly affection.

Rom 12:10 – Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (ESV)

Abound in love for one another and for all.

1 Thess 3:12 – and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, (ESV)

Taught by God to love one another.

1 Thess 4:9 – Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, (ESV)

This is how we know love.

1 John 3:16-18 – By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (ESV)

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, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

Love: As used of God, love expresses the deep and constant “love” and interest of a perfect Being towards entirely unworthy objects, producing and fostering a reverential “love” in them towards the Giver, and a practical “love” towards those who are partakers of the same, and a desire to help others to seek the Giver. The Spirit of revelation makes it known, to convey God’s will to his children concerning their attitude one toward another, and toward all men, and to express the essential nature of God. Love had its perfect expression among men in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christian love, whether exercised toward the brethren, or toward men generally, is not an impulse from the feelings, it does not always run with the natural inclinations, nor does it spend itself only upon those for whom some affinity is discovered. Love seeks the welfare of all, and works no ill to any. Self-will, that is, self-pleasing, is the negation of love to God.7

Supplement your faith…with love.

Refrain from leaving him.

Ex 23:4-5 – “If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him. If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him. (ESV)

The Lord our God is one.

Deut 6:4-6 – “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. (ESV)

God is love.

1 John 4:8 – Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (ESV)

As we have opportunity.

Gal 6:10 – So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (ESV)

Be one in mind and feeling.

1 Peter 3:8-9 – Finally, all of you, be one in mind and feeling; love as brothers; and be compassionate and humble-minded, not repaying evil with evil or insult with insult, but, on the contrary, with blessing. For it is to this that you have been called, so that you may receive a blessing. (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 1:5-6 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,

2 Pet 1:7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. (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).

4Godliness: 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.)

5Brotherly kindness: NT:5360 <START GREEK>filadelfi/a <END GREEK> philadelphia (fil-ad-el-fee’-ah); from NT:5361; fraternal affection: KJV – brotherly love (kindness), love of the brethren. (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.)

6Love feasts: agape (<START GREEK>a)ga/ph<END GREEK>, NT:26) is used in the plural in Jude 12, and in some mss. in 2 Peter 2:13; RV marg., “many ancient authorities read ‘deceivings,'” (apatais); so the KJV. These love feasts arose from the common meals of the early churches (cf. 1 Cor 11:21). They may have had this origin in the private meals of Jewish households, with the addition of the observance of the Lord’s Supper. There were, however, similar common meals among the pagan religious brotherhoods. The evil dealt with at Corinth (l.c.) became enhanced by the presence of immoral persons, who degraded the feasts into wanton banquets, as mentioned in 2 Pet. and Jude. In later times the agape became detached from the Lord’s Supper. (from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

7Love: A. Verbs. 1. agapao (<START GREEK>a)gapa/w<END GREEK>, NT:25) and the corresponding noun agape (B, No. 1 below) present “the characteristic word of Christianity, and since the Spirit of revelation has used it to express ideas previously unknown, inquiry into its use, whether in Greek literature or in the Septuagint, throws but little light upon its distinctive meaning in the NT. Cf, however, Lev 19:18; Deut 6:5.

“Agape and agapao are used in the NT (a) to describe the attitude of God toward His Son, John 17:26; the human race, generally, John 3:16; Rom 5:8, and to such as believe on the Lord Jesus Christ particularly John 14:21; (b) to convey His will to His children concerning their attitude one toward another, John 13:34, and toward all men, 1 Thess 3:12; 1 Cor 16:14; 2 Peter 1:7; (c) to express the essential nature of God, 1 John 4:8.

“Love can be known only from the actions it prompts. God’s love is seen in the gift of His Son, 1 John 4:9,10. But obviously this is not the love of complacency, or affection, that is, it was not drawn out by any excellency in its objects, Rom 5:8. It was an exercise of the divine will in deliberate choice, made without assignable cause save that which lies in the nature of God Himself, Cf. Deut 7:7,8.

“Love had its perfect expression among men in the Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Cor 5:14; Eph 2:4; 3:19; 5:2; Christian love is the fruit of His Spirit in the Christian, Gal 5:22.

“Christian love has God for its primary object, and expresses itself first of all in implicit obedience to His commandments, John 14:15,21,23; 15:10; 1 John 2:5; 5:3; 2 John 6. Selfwill, that is, self-pleasing, is the negation of love to God.

“Christian love, whether exercised toward the brethren, or toward men generally, is not an impulse from the feelings, it does not always run with the natural inclinations, nor does it spend itself only upon those for whom some affinity is discovered. Love seeks the welfare of all, Rom 15:2, and works no ill to any, 13:8,9,10; love seeks opportunity to do good to ‘all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith,’ Gal 6:10. See further 1 Cor 13 and Col 3:12-14.”

From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, p. 105.

In respect of agapao as used of God, it expresses the deep and constant “love” and interest of a perfect Being towards entirely unworthy objects, producing and fostering a reverential “love” in them towards the Giver, and a practical “love” towards those who are partakers of the same, and a desire to help others to seek the Giver. See BELOVED.

  1. phileo (<START GREEK>file/w<END GREEK>, NT:5368) is to be distinguished from agapao in this, that phileo more nearly represents “tender affection.” The two words are used for the “love” of the Father for the Son, John 3:35 (No. 1), and 5:20 (No. 2); for the believer, 14:21 (No. 1) and 16:27 (No. 2); both, of Christ’s “love” for a certain disciple, 13:23 (No. 1), and 20:2 (No. 2). Yet the distinction between the two verbs remains, and they are never used indiscriminately in the same passage; if each is used with reference to the same objects, as just mentioned, each word retains its distinctive and essential character.

Phileo is never used in a command to men to “love” God; it is, however, used as a warning in 1 Cor 16:22; agapao is used instead, e. g., Matt 22:37; Luke 10:27; Rom 8:28; 1 Cor 8:3; 1 Peter 1:8; 1 John 4:21. The distinction between the two verbs finds a conspicuous instance in the narrative of John 21:15-17. The context itself indicates that agapao in the first two questions suggests the “love” that values and esteems (cf. Rev 12:11). It is an unselfish “love,” ready to serve. The use of phileo in Peter’s answers and the Lord’s third question, conveys the thought of cherishing the Object above all else, of manifesting an affection characterized by constancy, from the motive of the highest veneration. See also Trench, Syn., Sec. xii.

Again, to “love” (phileo) life, from an undue desire to preserve it, forgetful of the real object of living, meets with the Lord’s reproof, John 12:25. On the contrary, to “love” life (agapao) as used in 1 Peter 3:10, is to consult the true interests of living. Here the word phileo would be quite inappropriate.

Note: In Mark 12:38, KJV, thelo, “to wish,” is translated “love” (RV, “desire”).

  1. Nouns. 1. agape (<START GREEK>a)ga/ph<END GREEK>, NT:26), the significance of which has been pointed out in connection with A, No. 1, is always rendered “love” in the RV where the KJV has “charity,” a rendering nowhere used in the RV; in Rom 14:15, where the KJV has “charitably,” the RV, adhering to the translation of the noun, has “in love.”

Note: In the two statements in 1 John 4:8 and 16, “God is love,” both are used to enjoin the exercise of “love” on the part of believers. While the former introduces a declaration of the mode in which God’s love has been manifested vv. 9,10, the second introduces a statement of the identification of believers with God in character, and the issue at the Judgment Seat hereafter v. 17, an identification represented ideally in the sentence “as He is, so are we in this world.”

  1. philanthropia (<START GREEK>filanqrwpi/a<END GREEK>, NT:5363) denotes, lit., “love for man” (phileo and anthropos, “man”); hence, “kindness,” Acts 28:2, in Titus 3:4, “(His) love toward man.” Cf. the adverb philanthropos, “humanely, kindly,” Acts 27:3. Note: For philarguria, “love of money,” 1 Tim 6:10, see MONEY (LOVE OF). For philadelphia, see BROTHER, Note (1). (from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

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