This series is about restoring life in our Christian practice. In the first post of this series I explained how it is important to add emotions into the spiritual exercises that we do. I feel prompted to write this especially for those on my course where I frequently recommend spiritual exercises that should be done. And I have come to realize that some people just do these things lifelessly just as Christians have always done. We pray because our pastor ask us to pray, we do these things simple from a sense of religious obligation, or just so when the pastor ask we would say yes we did it. So we are not putting our heart into it and as a result it becomes so lifeless, producing nothing for us.
Life is what is needed for growth, even in the natural world people grow because of the life they draw from the food they eat. Without life there is no growth, so we must take the issue of life very seriously. When you are carrying out a spiritual exercise in the flesh without pouring your heart into it then it becomes nothing but fleshly and dead. For something to be spiritual it must be flowing out from the spirit, and it flows out of the spirit through your heart. So when your heart is not involved then it is not from the spirit and it is not spiritual, it becomes another dead, religious thing that has no spiritual value. It would not help you grow if it has no spiritual life, and for it to have spiritual life you must put your heart into it.
In the previous post I also mentioned that the emotions we are to apply are those prompted or nurtured from the spirit, something gotten from gazing upon Christ. It must be something spiritual, something which origin is the spirit, not something made up in the flesh or influenced by religion and superstition. You know, there is a lot of emotions that comes with superstition and religion; fear, excitement, ecstasy, followed by certain display such as crying, jumping, shouting and laughing. All these things are developed in our relationship with religion, but you must let go of religion and focus on the Lord, focus on the reality in Christ, let your eyes get a sighting of this reality through revelation, and once you have apprehended it with the eyes of your heart then you must gaze upon it.
Fix your eyes, and let your mind become filled with thoughts concerning this reality (they call it meditation). As your eyes stay fixed and your mind becomes filled, you would realize your heart would also start getting filled. Filled with certain emotions, it could be love, awe, reverence, adoration, anguish, grief, vexation, joy, excitement, and etc. Whatever the emotion may be as long as it is something springing out from your gaze upon Christ (the revelation of the reality in Christ) then that emotion is spiritual and is capable of powering the life that would fill that exercise you are doing, causing it to produce fruits. Then your spiritual life would be very rich, growing into the fullness measure of the stature of Christ. So the exercise is not just about the thing you are doing in the physical but the thing you are doing in your heart, in the spirit—that’s what makes it spiritual. You haven’t done it right until you do that thing in your heart.