How important is contemplation these days? Do you ever spend much time just thinking about meaningful stuff? In a modern world, perhaps that notion seems unrealistic. But today, looking back upon Easter and Passion Week, I thought we should do a little contemplation about contemplation.
Along those lines, Jesus told Philip something that deserves some contemplation. “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.” (John 14:10-11 NASB)
Contemplate The Need for Proof
Philip asked Jesus for proof: “show us the Father, and it will be enough.” It was a moment like in the Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy wanted to go home. The Wizard told her that, really, all she had to do was click the heels of the ruby slippers on her feet and say “There’s no place like home!”. Just do that, and she’d be back in Kansas! It turned out that she really had everything she needed right there, but she didn’t realize it. By asking Jesus for proof, it seems that Philip was in the same situation! He already had everything he needed right in front of him… But he wanted more.
As you contemplate that, it brings up an interesting question: Do WE ever keep asking for an answer when God has already given us one? Do we ever seek more proof when God has already provided more than enough? Two things here:
Reflecting the Spirit
1) Jesus performed the works he did (miracles) not because he had magical super powers, but because he was in the Father, abiding in him. He was so intimately connected to God that He did what God would do. It’s another way of describing “walking in the Spirit”. He was uniquely yielded and empowered, and his life reflected the results of having the Father in him. If what Jesus taught was true, then ours could reflect that as well.
Andrew Murray’s devotional Book, “Abide in Christ” (http://www.worldinvisible.com/library/murray/5f00.0562/5f00.0562.c.htm) offers a 31 day exercise in abiding that teaches how to do just that. Going through it is an enriching exercise that offers an antidote to the hustle and bustle of our “modern” world.
Deflecting the Reflecting
Since contemplation and time alone with God are part of the means to abide in Him, here’s a thought. If I was Satan, I would make contemplation and quiet time a thing of the past. I’d offer distractions to deflect God’s followers from reflection. I would fill the hours that were once available for reflection and connection with music, media and busy-ness.
If I was Satan, I’d provide music 24/7, sound-canceling headphones, 180+ channels on television, plus thousands more on the internet. I’d create fantasy-world games that could distract from real-world possibilities. I would fill time with Pinterest, social media, Twitter, Snapchat, celebrities, and Facebook. I would provide so much mental distraction that there would be no time for contemplation… I’d do that because I know that busy minds will never be intimately connected with the Father.
Words or Works?
2) What is keeping you from living by faith, and from doing the kind of works Jesus did? I’m sure Philip thought Jesus was an amazing guy, but he wasn’t completely convinced– and his lack of belief was holding him back from being amazing himself. Jesus said in John 14:12, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”
I think we often limit ourselves because we aren’t sold out enough. We don’t really believe that Jesus was who he said he was. Put your faith to work, and invest a little quiet contemplation in who Jesus was. So, how do we get that information? I’d say if we want to know about the man John called “the Word”, we might try taking a little journey through THE WORD. Jesus said his words and works proved who he was. Either believe Jesus’ words, or believe his works. Perhaps if you contemplate HIS, it will impact YOURS…
Contemplation Template Perhaps you could allow me just a small interrogation: How often does your day include some quiet contemplation? Spend some time with Jesus, have some two-way conversation; Allow yourself to feel the Holy Spirit's inspiration! Search the Scriptures for him; do a small investigation, Reflecting on his character and seeking calibration. Get to know him well enough to do some imitation: You'll find that Christ in You is a creative combination!
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