The Value of Cultivating a Contemplative lifestyle
The invitation from God to the Christian is, and has always been, a call to intimacy. Through His sacrificial death, Jesus opened a way for us to live behind the veil, a way into the true inner chamber (Heb 10:20; Heb 9:8). In the Old covenant, God only allowed the high priest to enter, once a year, behind the veil into the holy of holies, the inner chamber separated from the holy place in the temple and the tabernacle. This was an elaborate picture painted by God to illustrate two things: 1) men are separated from God due to sin, and 2) there was a coming One who would enter behind the veil once for all time in order to secure eternal reconciliation for man.
Christ has come and by His death the veil has been torn and now there is nothing that separates us from Him! God's intention in all of this is clearly seen in Scripture: Reconciliation. He wanted to redeem us from the penalty of our sins, and join Himself to us. He loves us and desires to be with us, near us, intimately involved in our lives as our Father. God knows us, sure, but God honors our free will and desires that we invite Him into the inner chamber of our hearts. In like manner God desires that we will enter into the inner chamber of His heart.
Living a lifestyle that pursues this holy intimacy is called cultivating a contemplative lifestyle. A lifestyle that seeks to know God personally, experientially, while inviting Him to know us. A contemplative lifestyle centers on being in His presence, living life in perpetual adoration and amazement at the beauty and depth of the love that is God.
God's people are called to be radical lovers, prophets, and mystics. Those continually tuned to the sweet frequency of His heart. We are, in essence, called to experience our union with Him in such a way that much like a tuning fork, we would continually vibrate in accordance with the same frequency of divine passion.
Transformation is not the pursuit of the Christian, God is. We have been taken prisoner by His affection, we have tasted and seen so to speak, and have become hopeless addicts yearning for and burning for His love! Transformation is merely the effect of experiencing Him and becoming ever more familiar with His tenderness.
To cultivate a contemplative lifestyle is to live a life that is one unceasing prayer. A life that is marching in perfect and loving harmony with the inner movement of the Spirit. Cultivating a contemplative lifestyle is the same as cultivating any intimate relationship. It is built on communication, submission, honor, love, and a genuine desire to commit to another for their sake and not our own. Now it is truly impossible for us to do anything that would somehow benefit God since He is perfect and lacks nothing, but our commitment to His will is essentially the same thing as committing to Him for His sake.
It is through this continual inner communion, this intimate exchange of affection, that our lives become shaped and molded into the shape and form of Christ. As we invite Him in, and press into Him, our thoughts, behaviors, and attitudes shift and align with the beat of His heart. We then begin to effortlessly fulfill the call to be burning and brilliant lovers of man and God, prophets declaring the sweetness of His affection, and mystics swept away by the song of His furious longing.