- Hits: 14382
“falling in love with God,” as Boa’s subtitle for the facet explains. In this approach we attempt to enter into God’s presence for the primary purpose of appreciating who God is: to behold his beauty, majesty, and holiness, and to soak in his desires for us. The four chapters that make up Facet 6 discuss various things that are important and helpful as we embark on the greatest and most intimate of relationships, our life with God.
In the next chapter he discusses the role of contemplative practices in actualizing our desire to make God the chief focus of our life, our time, and our affections. . Boa wisely begins with addressing important negative ideas many have about what contemplation and meditation are, and are not. He rightly asserts that both practices must always be firmly bound to the Word, both written and incarnate. The contemplative traditions are focused on various means by which we can translate the first commandment, “to love God with all your heart. . . soul. . . [and] strength,” into a living reality in our lives. His discussion of how markedly the Christian practices of meditation and contemplation differ from those most often used in non-Christian traditions should do much to allay the fears of those who have previously steered clear of contemplative means for developing a passion for God. Perhaps the greatest challenge that contemplation of God offers to us today is the necessary emphasis on making the time to listen, to be still before God. And, Boa wisely advises that contemplative practices are not best suited to new believers. Just as a novice scuba enthusiast might begin by snorkeling until she is ready for greater depths, the contemplative way is most helpful to believers who are prepared through training to dive into the depths of life with God.
The third chapter in the facet discusses in a very practical way the centuries old practice of Sacred Reading, or lectio divina. Sadly, this is not a practice familiar to most modern day believers, and only fairly recently have Protestants discovered the benefit that comes from the four basic components of lectio divina: reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation. The chapter excels at providing concrete suggestions for how to implement the practice and gives a very helpful comparison (again, in chart form) of the differences between meditative and contemplative prayer.
Finally, the fourth chapter of the facet, “Falling in Love with God,” reiterates the importance of recognizing that “God alone is our highest good” and outlines briefly, but with helpful discussions, what sorts of things might prove to be what he calls “Enemies of Spiritual Passion” (e.g., “loving truth more than Christ,” “elevating service and ministry above Christ,” as well as the more expected problems such as disobedience) vs. what may promote spiritual passion (e.g., “Sitting at Jesus’ feet” “Focused intention,” “Willingness to let God break our outward self,” and “Desiring to please God more than impress people”). He ends the facet by again demonstrating how to use the Psalms and other Christians’ writing as means to open our mouths, hearts, and spirits in adoration of God.