Remember

You lived in this world without God and without hope.

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 practice of meditating on God’s Word and resting in his promises? This is a vital part of the sanctification process, a separation and surrendering to the will of God for you.

Sanctification.

Sanctification is not an attainment, it is the state into which God, in grace, calls sinful people, and in which they begin their course as Christians, followers of Christ. It is a separation to God; it is the relationship with God to which their sole title is the death of Christ. Sanctification is God’s will, his purpose in calling sinful people by the gospel, and must be learned from God as he teaches it by his Word. It must be pursued by the believer, earnestly and undeviatingly, for the holy character is built up little by little, as the result of obedience to the Word of God, and following the example of Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Agent in sanctification. The sanctification of the Spirit is associated with the choice of God; it is a Divine act preceding the acceptance of the Gospel by the individual.1

Lectio Divina.

I encourage you to practice Lectio Divina – taking in just a small bite of Scripture each day, and chewing on it all day, all week, all month, all year, all life long, giving Holy Spirit time and access to the deep recesses of your heart to cleanse and nourish your soul as you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (1 Pet 3:18).

“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. …the stages…

lectio (reading)… meditatio (reflection)… oratio (response)… contemplatio (rest), where 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… The movement of the prayer is towards silence… 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

Lectio.

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

Ex 31:15 – Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. (ESV)

Meditatio.

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

Ex 31:15 – Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. (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.3

You shall remember.

Deut 5:13-15 – Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day. (ESV)

You shall remember that you were a slave.
You shall remember that the Lord your God brought you out from there.
Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

Don’t forget.

Eph 2:11-13 – Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ. (NLT)

You were living apart from Christ.
You were excluded from citizenship.
You did not know the covenant promises.
You lived in this world without God and without hope.

But now!
Now you have been united with Christ Jesus.
Now you have been brought near to God through the blood of Christ.
Don’t forget.
You shall remember.
Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

Requiring an inner commitment.

Command: Essentially, this verb refers to verbal communication by which a superior “orders” or “commands” a subordinate… The most frequent subject of this verb is God. However, He is not to be questioned or “commanded” to explain the work of His hands Isa 45:11. He tells Israel that His “commands” are unique, requiring an inner commitment and not just external obedience, as the commands of men do Gen 29:13. His “ordering” is given to Moses from above the mercy seat Ex 25:22 and from His “commands” at Sinai Lev 7:38; cf. 17:1 ff… At other times when He “commands,” the thing simply occurs; His word is active and powerful Ps 33:9. He also issues “orders” through and to the prophets Jer 27:4 who explain, apply, and speak His “commands” Jer 1:17.4

God’s commands are unique, requiring an inner commitment and not just external obedience.
His ordering is from above the mercy seat and from Sinai.
At other times when he commands, the thing simply occurs.

Ex 31:15 – Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. (ESV)

With his presence and great power.

Deut 4:33-39 – Did any other people ever hear the voice of God speaking out of a fire, as you have heard, and stay alive? Or has God ever tried to go and take for himself a nation from the very bowels of another nation, by means of ordeals, signs, wonders, war, a mighty hand, an outstretched arm and great terrors — like all that Adonai your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes? This was shown to you, so that you would know that Adonai is God, and there is no other beside him. From heaven he caused you to hear his voice, in order to instruct you; and on earth he caused you to see his great fire; and you heard his very words coming out from the fire. Because he loved your ancestors, chose their descendants after them and brought you out of Egypt with his presence and great power, in order to drive out ahead of you nations greater and stronger than you, so that he could bring you in and give you their land as an inheritance, as is the case today; know today, and establish it in your heart, that Adonai is God in heaven above and on earth below — there is no other. (CJB)

Know today, and establish it in your heart
That Adonai is God in heaven above and on earth below.
There is no other.

Ex 31:15 – Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. (ESV)

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.

Prayer means yearning for the simple presence of God, for a personal understanding of his word, for knowledge of his will and for capacity to hear and obey him. It is thus something much more than uttering petitions for good things external to our own deepest concerns…

We wish to gain a true evaluation of ourselves and of the world so as to understand the meaning of our life as children of God redeemed from sin and death. We wish to gain a true loving knowledge of God, our Father and Redeemer. We wish to lose ourselves in his love and rest in him. We wish to hear his word and respond to it with our whole being. We wish to know his merciful will and submit to it in its totality. These are the aims and goals of meditation and oratio.5

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.

Christ’s rest is not a rest from work, but in work, “not the rest of inactivity but of the harmonious working of all the faculties and affections—of will, heart, imagination, conscience—because each has found in God the ideal sphere for its satisfaction and development.6

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Resources/For deeper study:

1Sanctification: A. Noun. hagiasmos (<START GREEK>a)giasmo/$ <END GREEK>, NT:38), “sanctification,” is used of (a) separation to God, 1 Cor 1:30; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2; (b) the course of life befitting those so separated, 1 Thess 4:3,4,7; Rom 6:19,22; 1 Tim 2:15; Heb 12:14. “Sanctification is that relationship with God into which men enter by faith in Christ, Acts 26:18; 1 Cor 6:11, and to which their sole title is the death of Christ, Eph 5:25,26; Col 1:22; Heb 10:10,29; 13:12.

“Sanctification is also used in NT of the separation of the believer from evil things and ways. This sanctification is God’s will for the believer, 1 Thess 4:3, and His purpose in calling him by the gospel, v. 7; it must be learned from God, v. 4, as He teaches it by His Word, John 17:17,19, cf. Ps 17:4; 119:9, and it must be pursued by the believer, earnestly and undeviatingly, 1 Tim 2:15; Heb 12:14. For the holy character, hagiosune, 1 Thess 3:13, is not vicarious, i. e., it cannot be transferred or imputed, it is an individual possession, built up, little by little, as the result of obedience to the Word of God, and of following the example of Christ, Matt 11:29; John 13:15; Eph 4:20; Phil 2:5, in the power of the Holy Spirit, Rom 8:13; Eph 3:16.

“The Holy Spirit is the Agent in sanctification, Rom 15:16; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2; cf. 1 Cor 6:11…. The sanctification of the Spirit is associated with the choice, or election, of God; it is a Divine act preceding the acceptance of the Gospel by the individual.”

From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 115, 271.

For synonymous words see HOLINESS.

  1. Verb. hagiazo (<START GREEK>a(gia/zw <END GREEK>, NT:37), “to sanctify,” “is used of (a) the gold adorning the Temple and of the gift laid on the altar, Matt 23:17,19; (b) food, 1 Tim 4:5; (c) the unbelieving spouse of a believer, 1 Cor 7:14; (d) the ceremonial cleansing of the Israelites, Heb 9:13; (e) the Father’s Name, Luke 11:2; (f) the consecration of the Son by the Father, John 10:36; (g) the Lord Jesus devoting Himself to the redemption of His people, John 17:19; (h) the setting apart of the believer for God, Acts 20:32; cf. Rom 15:16; (i) the effect on the believer of the Death of Christ, Heb 10:10, said of God, and 2:11; 13:12, said of the Lord Jesus; (j) the separation of the believer from the world in his behavior — by the Father through the Word, John 17:17,19; (k) the believer who turns away from such things as dishonor God and His gospel, 2 Tim 2:21; (l) the acknowledgment of the Lordship of Christ, 1 Peter 3:15.

“Since every believer is sanctified in Christ Jesus, 1 Cor 1:2, cf. Heb 10:10, a common NT designation of all believers is ‘saints,’ hagioi, i. e., ‘sanctified’ or ‘holy ones.’ Thus sainthood, or sanctification, is not an attainment, it is the state into which God, in grace, calls sinful men, and in which they begin their course as Christians, Col 3:12; Heb 3:1.”

From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 113, 114.

(from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

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

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

4To command: tsawah OT:6680, “to command.” This verb occurs only in biblical Hebrew (in all periods) and imperial Aramaic (starting from around 500 B C.). Biblical occurrences number around 485.

Essentially, this verb refers to verbal communication by which a superior “orders” or “commands” a subordinate. The word implies the content of what was said. Pharaoh “ordered” (“commanded”) his men concerning Abraham, and they escorted Abraham and his party out of Egypt Gen 12:20. This “order” defines an action relevant to a specific situation. Tsawah can also connote “command” in the sense of the establishment of a rule by which a subordinate is to act in every recurring similar situation. In the Garden of Eden (the first appearance of this word in the Bible), God “commanded” (“set down the rule”): “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:…” Gen 2:16. In this case, the word does not contain the content of the action but focuses on the action itself.

One of the recurring formulas in the Bible is “X did all that Y commanded him” — e. g., Ruth “did according to all that her mother-in-law bade her” Ruth 3:6. This means that she carried out Naomi’s “orders.” A similar formula, “X did just as Y commanded,” is first found in Num 32:25, where the sons of Reuben and Gad say to Moses that they “will do as my lord commandeth.” These formulas indicate the accomplishment of, or the intention to accomplish, the “orders” of a superior.

The verb tsawah can be used of a commission or charge, such as the act of “commanding,” “telling,” or “sending” someone to do a particular task. In Gen 32:4, Jacob “commissioned” his servants to deliver a particular message to his brother Esau. They acted as his emissaries. Jacob commissioned (literally, “commanded”) his sons to bury him in the cave of Machpelah Gen 49:30, and then he died. This “command” constituted a last will and testament — an obligation or duty. The verb again indicates, therefore, appointing someone to be one’s emissary.

The most frequent subject of this verb is God. However, He is not to be questioned or “commanded” to explain the work of His hands Isa 45:11. He tells Israel that His “commands” are unique, requiring an inner commitment and not just external obedience, as the commands of men do Gen 29:13. His “ordering” is given to Moses from above the mercy seat Ex 25:22 and from His “commands” at Sinai Lev 7:38; cf. 17:1 ff.. At other times when He “commands,” the thing simply occurs; His word is active and powerful Ps 33:9. He also issues “orders” through and to the prophets Jer 27:4 who explain, apply, and speak His “commands” Jer 1:17.

(from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

 5Thomas Merton (2014). Contemplative Prayer (pg 45-46). New York, NY: Image Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC.

6Rest: anapausis (<START GREEK>a)na/pausi$<END GREEK>, NT:372), “cessation, refreshment, rest” (ana, “up,” pauo, “to make to cease”), the constant word in the Sept. for the Sabbath “rest,” is used in Matt 11:29; here the contrast seems to be to the burdens imposed by the Pharisees. Christ’s “rest” is not a “rest” from work, but in work, “not the rest of inactivity but of the harmonious working of all the faculties and affections — of will, heart, imagination, conscience — because each has found in God the ideal sphere for its satisfaction and development” (J. Patrick, in Hastings’ Bib. Dic.); it occurs also in Matt 12:43; Luke 11:24; Rev 4:8, RV, “(they have no) rest” [KJV, “(they) rest (not)”], where the noun is the object of the verb echo, “to have”; so in 14:11… (from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

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