Back in 1992 I received a poetry book for my birthday. That book was one of a few that I decided to reread this summer. What I discovered was . . . I had never actually read more than a few pages of the book! Over the years that book had become a familiar companion. It found its way all over our house – in bookshelves, on the coffee table, next to reading chairs. I couldn’t remember why I didn’t read it completely the first time around; I only know that now I felt like I was reading the lovely, fresh ideas of a newfound friend. I’m so glad I looked again at something I thought I knew. Oh, what I would have missed!

God often invites us to look again at the familiar, but He wants us to see more than what we saw before. He invites us to a deeper understanding, a greater acceptance of who He is and how He relates to us. These days my heart keeps returning to Psalm 23. What could be a more familiar Scripture? Yet I find that I want to see more, sense more, receive more, and live more of the life that it describes. It’s a song that reminds us, “You’re secure with Me, no matter what.”

When something seems familiar, we think we know it. But there is a “beyond,” a deeper knowing that can be experienced in our heart, our soul, our body. This is what Paul prays for believers in Ephesians 3. Because we’ve been won and reconciled by love, we’re urged to “comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth” of that love, coming to “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you will be filled up to all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19 NET).

The word “comprehend” has the idea of seizing or possessing, like grabbing something and making it our own. One way we can make truth our own is by meditating on it. Dallas Willard explains, “It is a primary way we . . . have our thoughts formed by God’s thoughts. Memorizing Scripture is even more important than a daily quiet time, for as we fill our minds with great passages and have them readily available for our meditation, ‘quiet time’ takes over the entirety of our lives.”* As words of truth tumble around in our hearts, they find their way into our prayers and conversations, and gradually they transform our heart’s responses. We begin to enjoy the secure, full life that God offers us.

ACTION: Read Psalm 23, perhaps in a different translation or paraphrase than you typically use. Notice anything that comes across in a fresh way or that raises your curiosity. Bring your mind back to these thoughts throughout the day. What stands out? If you haven’t already, consider memorizing Psalm 23 during the month of September.

*Life Without Lack, Dallas Willard, p. xvi


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Praying in Leisure
Secure Because of the Shepherd