Union With God

Meditation Recollection Contemplation

What Is Union With God?

The term has been used throughout the centuries to describe what Jesus spoke about in John 15:5 (NIV): “I am the vine: you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” He is speaking of continuous, conscious, communion with Himself.

Most Christians are unaware of Christ’s presence much of the time, doing much for their Lord without the deeply satisfying intimacy and fruitfulness that is possible only in Him.

What Is Meditation?

The word meditation means to reflect or ponder deeply on scripture. There are many references to it in the Bible; for example, Joshua 1:8 (NIV) states, “Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” In Psalm 1, the promise of blessedness comes to those whose delight is the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers (see Psalm 1:1-3).

The goal of biblical meditation and contemplative prayer is for our soul to come into a practical experiential union with God. Even though the Bible exhorts us to pray without ceasing, most Christians are only aware of God sporadically. The practice of meditation and contemplation enables us to refocus our soul (mind, will, and emotions) and redirect our love back to God.

Meditation

Thinking And Praying His Word

There are many practical benefits of meditation. In Luke 1:51 it states that He (God) has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. Meditation helps to train the mind to stay focused on the Lord. As our mind is renewed, we become increasingly aware of Him. Jesus was continuously aware of where the Father was working and what the Father was saying so that He could join the Father in all things. His words and activities were always done in perfect union with the Father. It takes the Word of God illuminated by our reliance on the Holy Spirit, our Teacher and Counselor, to change the way we think and to break our old habits of self-reliance. In I Peter 1:23 (NIV) it states, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring

Word of God.” Also, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good” I Peter 2:2-3 (NIV). Meditation on God’s Word enables us to grow up and mature, taking every thought captive for obedience to Christ (II Corinthians 10:5).

1. Pick A Bible Verse And Read It Slowly.

Begin by selecting a small portion of scripture; I will use Psalm 16 as an example. As you read the verse “Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge” (Psalm 16:1 NIV), begin to reflect on what the words mean.

2. Ask The Holy Spirit To Help You Understand

It.

As you were reading verse 1, the word “refuge” may have seemed especially significant to you. The Holy Spirit will often highlight a word or a phrase as we read.

3. Pray It Back To God

You might pray that God would be your refuge so that you would always feel safe in Him. Often, He will bring fresh insight and reveal truth from His Word–perhaps the need to come to Him in deeper trust.

4. Focus On God (Be Open To His Voice)

As you center your focus on the Lord, you will begin to be aware that you are in His presence. As we come to Him, we know by faith that we are in His presence. Sometimes, God will communicate His presence in a picture that momentarily comes into our mind or in a feeling of love or peace. Be open to whatever He wants to say or do, but don’t try to make something happen. If your mind wanders, simply reread the verse and refocus on Him.

Recollection

The goal of meditation is to achieve a state of being that is termed recollection, pronounced Re-Col-Lec-Tion, and means “to collect again and to calm or control oneself ” and comes from the Latin word “recolligere” to gather together.

It is a concentrating of the scattered energies of the self (mind, will, and emotions) in order to experience eternal realities that have always existed but were not perceived. It is the lifting of our consciousness from self- centered to God-centered and is the essence of illumination. It begins and is empowered by a full and continual surrender of our self in love and trust to God. Romans 12:1-2 states that because of God’s mercy, we are to offer our bodies as “living sacrifices,” holy and pleasing to God as a spiritual act of worship. We are no longer to conform to the pattern of the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. The result of this surrender enables us to test and approve what God’s will is and to know and participate in His perfect will. Knowing His will is very difficult in an un- surrendered state.

As you have been meditating on God’s Word, learning to keep your mind focused and your full attention on Him alone, you will begin to experience a still and tranquil peace. This is a benefit of a single-minded, steadfast focus. James 1:6-7 states that a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways, blown back and forth and unable to receive from the Lord. Isaiah 26:3 also states that God will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast on Him. When you begin to experience this stillness and calmness, stop for a moment and wait attentively. If your mind loses its focus and wandering thoughts surface, return to the scripture verse. This will refocus your attention back on the Lord.

Contemplation/ Contemplative Prayer

Being Quiet As You Love And Listen With Your Heart.

Contemplation begins as a deepening and intensifying of recollection. It is accompanied by a transition from self-awareness and what is represented through our natural senses and our mind to an inward awareness of God’s indwelling presence.

“The Kingdom of God is WITHIN you” (Luke 17:21 NIV). God dwells within your heart, find Him there. Also see I Corinthians 6:19 (NIV), “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God.”

When we love someone, we are happy just to be with them. We don’t need an exchange of words to communicate with those we know and love deeply. “Be still and know that I Am God” (Psalm 46:10 NIV). Being still and listening positions our heart to wait quietly in His presence. Contemplation is a conscious attentive regard for God alone. Interiorization of consciousness is developed through contemplation. The knowledge of Christ that faith brings begins the process of interiorization and is a necessary condition for the enkindling of love and desire that culminate in a higher form of knowing.

Many Christians read John 6:40 (NASB),“For

this is the will of my Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life. . ,” and see this as a one time looking to the Lord and as being accomplished when they became a Christian. The word “behold” is more than a casual one time glance. It means a continual, intense and heated gaze at God.

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord are being transformed in the same image from glory to glory…” (II Corinthians 3:18 NASB).

Union with God is the mark of the mature man. Through meditation, recollection, and contemplation, Christians throughout church history were transformed by God to become the Reformers, Revivalist, and Miracle Workers of their day. May the church of our time prepare itself in the same way for works of service so that the whole body of Christ will be built up, reaching unity in the faith and knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (see Ephesians 4:12-13).

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