Return to the Ancient Path

“We have neglected our prayer life.  We have stopped listening to God.  We have been caught by the covetous spirit of our affluent society and worshipped the false god of materialism.  We have exchanged our knowledge of God for heady disputes about theological words or for religious or social activism.  We have forgotten how to be still before God; how to meditate, trapped as we are in the vortex of modern life.”                                              

Dr David Watson

With there eloquent words, the late Dr David Watson painted for us a descriptive picture of the modern Christian – constantly on the go. 

We have functions to attend, places to visit, games to play, things to do, people to see, Listen to this interesting piece written by Marcia K. Harnok entitled “Psalms 23, Antithesis”:

“The clock is my dictator, I shall not rest.
It leads me to deep depression, it hounds my soul.
It leads me in circles of frenzy for activity’s sake.
Even though I run frantically from task to task,
I will never get it all done, for my “ideal” is with me.
Datelines and my need for approval, they drive me.
They demand performance from me, beyond the limits of my schedule.
They anoint my head with migraines, my in-basket overflows.
Surely fatigue and time pressures shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the bonds of frustration forever.”

In the midst of this beehive of activities, we neglect the quiet nurturing of our inner life. 

The words of the psalmist in Psalms 46 – “Be still and know that I am God…” become an ideal more than a reality.

However, the problem, is not really the lack of time but more so the lack of desire. We misplace our focus and affections on things non-essential.  We do not experience the passion of the psalmist in Psalms 42: 1, 2. “As the deer pants for streams of living water, so my soul pants for you, O God My soul thirsts for God, for the Living God.  Where can I go and meet with God?”

What depths of devotion! What intensity of desire! But do we have this deep yearning for God? Do we have such an intense desire to pursue after the Lover of our soul?

Psalm 42: 7“Deep calls unto deep…”

From the depths of our souls, we cry out to the depths of the heart of God. We long to hear his whispers of love. We thirst to know Him for who He is. We passionately want to love Him for who He is.

The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3: 10
“I want to know Christ…”

Not just long to know a bit of Christ but ALL of Him!

“We taste Thee, O Thou Living Bread
And long to feed upon Thee still
And drink of Thee, the Fountainhead And thirst our souls for Thee to fill”

                                                                                                            – St Bernard

Perhaps, somewhere in the inner chambers of your soul, you have heard the call:

  • To fuller and deeper living in the Lord
  • To drink deeply at the Fountain of Life
  • To feast heartily at the Table of the King
  • You are tired and wearied by the shallowness of your own spiritual life.
  • You have heard the call of the deep calling unto the deep.
  • You long to launch out unto the depths of the inner life.

The time has come to exchange:

  • The superficial for the sublime
  • The external for the internal
  • The shallow for the deep

Richard Foster in his classic book “Celebration of Discipline” begins with these words:

“Superficiality is the curse of our age.”

  • Our words are superficial.
  • Our relationships are shallow.
  • Our actions lack authenticity.

We can end up having:

  • Rituals without reality
  • Religion without relationship
  • Duty without delight

Let us go beyond the superficial, religious externalism and move into the depths of the spiritual life.  The key to this life of depth is a reverential return to the spiritual disciplines.

Pastor Benny Ho