Awakening A Weekly publication of The Awakening Institute for Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Directi
Hi Everyone, I pray blessings upon you, that you are experiencing the presence of God in every moment of your days. Now is a good time to be still and let God speak in your heart.
Exploring Our Spiritual Dispositions1 Part 5
Over the past four weeks we have considered what we have termed spiritual dispositions. We began with dispositions of attitude, which are those that the Lord bestows upon all people in a prevenient manner. These dispositions can be pondered and developed in cooperation with God’s grace, which is poured out on all people, whoever and wherever they may be. These dispositions may also be called dispositions of awareness, as they come with an awareness of love even before we know the source of love. We then considered dispositions of relationship. These are dispositions that can only be fully developed in conjunction with a relationship “in Christ” with God, who moves us forward within the context of surrender in our sanctifying journey. These dispositions can also be referred to as dispositions of purification as we gaze into the eyes of love. Last week we then looked at threshold dispositions. These represent dispositions that rightly belong only to God but have been given to us by Jesus Christ. These can also be called dispositions of illumination. These draw us to a liminal place that can ultimately lead to the final and ultimate disposition, which is the disposition of union, also referred to as the disposition of perfect love, or the disposition of glorification. Once again, as we have done throughout this series, we will prepare in the following manner. Allow yourself to encounter the spiritual disposition of love in the following meditative readings.
1. Sit quietly and comfortably. 2. Feel yourself breathing. 3. Take three deep rhythmic breathes. 4. Settle into the space around you. 5. Close your eyes and listen to, (or read and listen if you are doing this alone) the reading. What stands out or strikes you as particularly important to your life situation right now? Meditate on this for a few moments. 6. Speak out loud the word, verse, phrase or concept that has been placed on your heart. 7. In as little as one word or, at the most, a sentence or two, write down what you have heard in your heart as prompted by the questions provided. 8. Take three minutes of silence 9. Answer the questions provided.
Meditating on the Disposition of Union
Love is the disposition in which all the other good dispositions lead. Love consists of all that is good coalescing into union with God, Christ-likeness, full sanctification, perfection, or holiness, however way you wish to term moments of full immersion in God. Love moments are moments when we find it difficult to know where we end and God begins. These are moments when we experience the eternal fullness that comes with self-emptying (see Philippians 2:1-11); a point between and beyond time where we find ourselves completely focused on God and other people. These are the moments when we find eternal purpose and meaning that fills us to overflowing. Love is the disposition that overcomes us as we enter into the realm where heaven and earth overlap and interlock; the temporal blurs into the eternal, where flesh and divinity unite. Love is the ultimate kingdom of God disposition. Love is the disposition that becomes manifest as the culmination a of life habitually disposed to the dispositions of attitude and relationship, which upon crossing the bridge of joy and peace, “in Christ”, enter into union with God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), who is Love. Wherever and whenever, we see love truly lived out, (in ourselves or in others) it is then that we see the kingdom of God in our midst. It is evident that union with God is beginning to take place when love becomes our default reaction to all that we think, say and do. Like all dispositions love comes about purely by God’s grace, as a gift that we receive of no merit of our own but as a gift from God who is Love.
Follow the process previously outlined for each of these two meditations.
Ponder the following Scriptures on love. Write down one sentence that comes to mind as you read these verses.
Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. NRS 1 John 4:8 So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. NRS 1 John 4:16
Ponder the following Scriptures on perfection. Write down one sentence that comes to mind as you read these verses.
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. NRS Matthew 5:48
How might the following inform your concept of perfection?
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35 and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" 37 He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." NRS Matthew 22:34-40 1If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. NRS 1 Corinthians 13
1. How does this Scripture speak to you regarding love? 2. What action, if any, has this reading stirred up in you? 3. Based on this meditation, write a sentence or two depicting how love is present in your life?
1 In this series we have only touched upon the concept of spiritual dispositions as taught at The Awakening Institute, If this series has piqued your interest you may want to consider The Awakening Institutes five week course on the development of spiritual dispositions. For details please email you request to firstname.lastname@example.org