Here’s a little something to consider to begin the week. I’m not going to answer the four questions near the end of this post for anyone. They’re there if you’d like to do that yourself.
What is the reason for posting such questions? It was due to encountering a remark, that basically consisted of this: Jesus did not “found” a religion that “encouraged introspection” (contemplation, self examination, meditation, prayer) like the other religions around Him in His day.
Essentially I would contend with the idea that He was “founding” yet another “religion”, first of all. That was not His design.
Secondly, as someone who has embraced a Christian Contemplative path for nearly forty years and found it extremely useful to “go interior” and examine oneself in light of Holy Scripture with the Holy Spirit’s help, it has been my experience that insights yielded by way of such practice have been immensely useful. To me that simply means being devoted vigilantly to prayer and study of the Way of Jesus Christ, and “praying the Scriptures”.
Thirdly, consider the Biblical basis to the contrary:
“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret.” [Matthew 6:6]
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” [2 Corinthians 13:5]
“…commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.” [Psalm 4:4] “I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.” [Psalm 77:6]
“When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.” [Psalm 63:6]
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. [Psalm 1:2]
“And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.” [Matthew 14:23]
“Pray without ceasing.” [1 Thessalonians 5:17]
There are many more that encourage a life of inner reflection, yet based solidly in Scripture, with a view of pressing “toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 3:14]
However, back to our four questions, which I have found to be helpful for personal reflection, and now offer to any who may want to consider them in your own quiet times with Jesus:
How well do I really know Jesus?
How well do I really understand what is meant by the “Kingdom of Heaven”?
How well do I really understand the mission of Jesus?
How well do I really understand my particular role in His mission as a member of the body of Christ?
My favorite encouragement in this is something I need to include: “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” [Ephesians 3:14-19]
It is clear and evident that such comprehension does not come by way of resting on our religious laurels or spiritual assumptions, but by persistently asking, seeking, and knocking.