Monday, March 9, 2015

Becoming Like God...In His Serenity (1 of 3)

Have you ever been somewhere and you've been so busy doing “stuff” that you have missed everything around you? I have. Let me share a brief story.

Once, when I was helping at a youth church camp, I was one of several people assigned to help with the water recreation during free time. This camp was at a lake, and I was asked to drive a jet-ski for any youth that signed up each day. Their fee – quote that day's memory verse. A pretty good deal for them and a lot of fun for me too. Well, after driving youth around over four afternoons, it was time to call it quits. All the youth were finished, so I decided to take one last ride by myself. Long story short, the jet-ski got flooded while I was far from anything. It was nearing dinner time so boat traffic was extremely light. No noise, no movement, nothing.

And I realized at that moment that I was alone. Yet, not really, because God was there. I had been in the midst of this beautiful place all week. I had driven past the trees, the grass, the animals, all of it, all week, but hadn't noticed it at all. Oh, I had seen it. But I hadn't paid a bit of attention to it. Now, in the stillness, in the silence, in the solitude, I was taking it all in. I could hear small animals scurrying in the woods. I could hear the water gently lap upon the shore. I could hear the leaves lightly blowing. I could see fish jumping not far away. I could look across the channel and see the gorgeous treeline that stretched as far as I could see around the edge of the cove. I could look up and see a few clouds drifting slowly across the sky. But most importantly, I knew that God was there.

We had been at camp all week, and there had been great lessons, great times of corporate worship, and great times of discussion and fellowship. But being stuck on the jet ski was my moment at the camp that year. And if it wasn't for the jet ski getting flooded, I would have seen all of those things all week and yet, I would have still missed it. After about 15 minutes of just sitting on the jet-ski, I tried to start it, and it fired right up. I rode to the dock, and while I don't remember much else from that week, I have vivid, and fond, memories of literally being stuck in the middle of the lake.

Psalm 46.10 says – “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth!” That day, I began to learn what that meant!

I tell you this story because this week's Discipline is actually a combination of two disciplines that are very related – Silence and Solitude. These Disciplines continue our series on Becoming Like God by becoming disciplined, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to train ourselves for godliness (as 1 Tim 4:7). Following is Whitney's definition of each:

Discipline of Silence – the voluntary and temporary abstention from speaking so that certain spiritual goals might be sought. This absence of speaking does not mean intentional self-talk, or prayer.

Discipline of Solitude – the voluntary and temporary withdrawal to privacy for spiritual matters – minutes to days.

Given that each has a definition, they can be distinguished, but are usually found together. Having set the stage to discuss these disciplines, in this week's second post I will share 9 biblical reasons for engaging in them.

*This series of posts is adapted from Donald Whitney's book, Christian Disciplines for the Christian Life.

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