A Christian Meditation on Putting On God’s Love from Colossians 3:13
Dave Cover: This is Christian Meditation for a Bigger Life. I'm Dave Cover. I want to help you with Christian meditation and experience God's presence through biblically guided imagination, where you can draw near to God and get the stress and anxiety out of your mind, out of your heart, and out of your body, so you can live a bigger life. Let's spend some time in meditation. But before we do, if your podcast app is set to skip silent sections, disable that for this podcast. In order to get in a good disposition to meditate, let's get our body in a place where we can sense God's spirit and God's presence, not just spiritually in our head, but physically in our bodies. You never really can separate your body from spiritual reality. Your body is part of your soul. It's part of who you are eternally. When God created your body, he created you. Or to put it another way, when he created you, he created your body. This is what the scriptures teach for example, in Psalm 139. We're not going to read it again, except for when you read it you see the Psalmist is saying that when God created his body, that's when God created him. So we never can separate our body from spiritual reality. We are a soul. And our body is part of our soul. That's why you'll have a resurrection of your body in your salvation. This has always been part of the promise of the Gospel. So Christian meditation requires that we get our body in a place to spiritually meditate. And so the best way to do that I've found is if you can, life flat on your back. Or if you cannot do that, sit comfortably in a chair. But get your body in a symmetrical disposition. In other words, your legs and your arms are parallel with one another. Uncross your legs, uncross your arms, and close your eyes if you can. And begin to take in deep breaths through your nose, into your belly. It might help at first to just use your stomach muscles to make your belly rise as you inhale, as you take in your breath, just to get used to that physical pattern. Breathing in through your nose, feeling your belly rise as you send the air into your belly. And then as you exhale, imagine that you're breathing relaxation into your body. You're feeling your muscles soften. You're letting go. You don't have to hold yourself up. You're letting your muscles drop. And you're feeling the weight of your body with each exhale. Breathing in slowly through your nose, into your belly. And then let your out breath be a little longer than your in breath as you let relaxation fill your body. Let your muscles soften. Feel your body let go. You don't have to hold yourself up. You have no place to go right now, nothing to do right now. Right now, you're meditating. And begin to focus on the feeling of your body relaxing. As your muscles throughout your entire body soften, bring your mind's awareness to what that feels like. You're focusing on that feeling of your body feeling more and more relaxed, calm, quiet. Now let's zero in on different parts of your body. Focus right now on your hands, your hands feeling relaxed, lying there, not doing anything. You don't have to hold anything. You don't have to lift anything. Your hands are lying there completely calm, relaxed, at rest. And just feel the weight of your hands. Feel your fingers and thumbs, your palms, the back of your hands. And just feel the relaxation in both hands. And now, focus on your feet, same thing. Just feel the weight of your feet. Feel relaxation enter into your feet, your toes. Feel the mass of your feet lying there not doing anything, feeling heavy, at rest, calm. Now feel your feet and hands at the same time. Just bring your mind's awareness to these four things on your body, both feet, both hands. At the same time, feel the mass of your feet and hands, the weight of your feet and hands, and your feet and hands relaxing, feeling calm, heavy, rested.( silence) Now bring your mind's awareness to your arms, back up to your arms. All the way from your biceps, all the way down to your wrists, both arms. Your arms don't have to lift anything, do anything right now. They're just resting, lying there. Feel both arms in parallel with one another. Let your muscles soften. Now focus on your legs, both legs; your calves, your knees, your ankles, your thighs. Feel your legs in parallel with one another. And feel the weight, the heaviness, the mass of your legs. Feeling heavier, dropping more and more to the ground. Feel your legs letting go, releasing, lying there. And now feel your arms and your legs at the same time. Four limbs lying parallel, same direction, rested, resting, released, heavy, bringing your mind's awareness to your arms and legs the same time. And now your arms and legs and hands and feet at the same time, letting go. And bringing your mind's awareness to just the mass of your legs and your arms, their physicality, and the life flowing through your arms and legs, and your feet and hands. Now bring your mind's awareness to your hips. Relax your hips. Let them drop. Let them go. Focus on letting your muscles and your hips release. And now your buttocks, the muscles in your buttocks, just letting go, dropping, relaxing. Your pelvic area. Releasing all clenched muscles. Now bring your mind's awareness to your gut, your abdomen, as you're breathing in your air and your abdomen is rising. As you exhale, you're breathing relaxation into your stomach muscles, into your abdomen, letting all clenched muscles release. And feeling relaxation into your entire stomach.( silence) Moving up to your diaphragm and your chest. Same thing, just letting muscles go, letting tension release, clenched muscles release. Breathing in as your belly rises. And exhaling relaxation into your stomach, your diaphragm, your chest. And bring your mind's awareness to the front of your torso entirely; your chest, your diaphragm, your gut. And just feel the physicality of that part of your body, the weight of that part of your body, its presence. Now move your mind's awareness around to your back, your entire back. Intentionally focus on releasing the muscles in your back, letting go, letting them drop, letting them relax. We use our back to hold ourselves up. You don't have to hold yourself up right now. Let all holding yourself up go, release, drop, become heavy.( silence) Now bring your awareness to your shoulders and just let your shoulders drop toward the ground. There's no burden to bear with your shoulders right now. Let them completely release. Now feel your entire torso just lying there, letting go, releasing all clenched tension and muscles. And feel the mass of your torso, the physicality, the presence, and the life flowing through your torso, your stomach, your back, your pelvic area, your shoulders. Continue to breathe in, letting your stomach rise, letting your exhale be longer than your inhale. And as you exhale, your focus on breathing, relaxation into your torso, your arms, your hands, your legs, your feet. Now bring your awareness to your neck, your whole neck; your throat, the back of your neck. Feel where it connects to your shoulders and let those muscles release, become completely soft, letting go. Focus on your tongue. This big muscle that goes all the way back into your throat. Let your tongue relax. Focus on letting your tongue just drop, release all the way deep into your throat. And feel how that causes your entire throat, your jaw, to let go, to drop. Let your jaw drop. Your cheeks. You don't have to present a face to the world right now. You can let your entire face drop. Now focus on your eyes and the muscles behind your eyes like a catcher's mitt behind your eyes that cause your eyes to move. Sometimes they tighten around your eyes. Right now, you can just release and let go. Let your eyes just lie there. You don't have to focus on anything. Your eyes can just sink deep into their sockets and rest. Moving your awareness to your forehead, letting go of tension in your forehead. And now the top of your head, your scalp, just releasing. Focus on releasing the tension in your scalp, letting go. Now the back of your head, all the way down to your neck. The sides of your head, your ears. And now just focus on your entire head, letting all the muscles on your entire head release, let go. Your head is just lying there. Or if you're sitting, your head is just laying there on your shoulders, completely relaxed, unburdened, calm. Now let your attention run through your entire body again from head to toe. Feel your whole body in its totality. Feel the heaviness of your entire body, the weight falling toward the earth. Feel the physicality of your body as a single field of life given by God. Just hold that feeling. Be intensely, mindfully present in every cell of your body using your imagination. Every cell of your body, given life by God. Imagine every cell in your body right now with the life given by God. Mindfully focus and use your imagination to inhabit your body fully. Your body is part of your soul. Embrace your body as part of you, eternally part of you. Jesus came bodily to die and rise from the dead to save your body as part of saving you. Jesus came as a body because he came to save you as a body. Your body is part of you, eternally part of who you are. Focus your attention inside the inner condition of your body. Feel your body from within. Focus on that feeling. This kind of body mindfulness and awareness helps you embrace your body, and it helps you recalibrate your body with the reality of God's life- giving presence and love and care for you, every cell of your body. God created you. Every cell of your body is important to him. When Jesus said," The very hairs of your head are numbered by God," that was his way of saying every detail of your body is important to God. We would say every cell of your body, every code in your DNA is important to God. God created it, values it. As you keep some of your attention on your body relaxing and feeling God's presence in your body, and the life of every cell in your body, using your imagination, breathing into your belly, breathing out, relaxation in your entire body, let's also focus on the reality of God's presence. Let me read Colossians 3: 12. It says," As God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." And then verse 14." And over all these virtues, put on love." Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, love. These are all opposites to stress and tension, anxiety, insecurity, worry, fear, self- protection, anger. Steve Cuss, in his book, Managing Leadership Anxiety, says that anxiety is a signal. It's not a root cause. He says," Anxiety is generated when we think we need something in any particular moment that we don't actually need. Anxiety is not just worry and fear. It's how you react when you don't get something you think you need." However you react, in anger, frustration, lashing out, abusive words, insecurity, self- protection. The point is that anxiety becomes a marker that something other than God's presence and love and care is at play in your mind and your body. So when anxiety strikes, and you know that you're anxious when you have an elevated heart rate, or your mind is distracted, or you have anger fantasies, you're projecting some sort of narrative, some sort of story in the future where you put somebody in their place, that's an anger fantasy. It's a fantasy that is anxiety at work in your mind. And it is putting something in your body as well; tension, stress, clenched muscles. When anxiety strikes, ask yourself these questions. What do I feel I need that's being threatened right now? What is it that I feel that I need that I think is being threatened right now that's causing my muscles to tense up, my heart rate to increase, causing me to be mentally distracted, causing me to have anger fantasies, putting people in their place, venting my frustration and fantasies? What do I feel that I need that's being threatened right now? That's the first question. The second question is why do I feel that I need it? Why do I think I need that? What's so crucial about that I need it, that's causing me to become angry, causing me to become fearful, causing me to worry, be anxious, be tense, self- protecting, insecure? Why do I feel that I need it? And the third question is, do I really need it? If God is present with me and he is in control of every moment, and his love for me is beyond my imagination, he came for me and died for me to bring me into this eternal glory on a new creation, with a resurrected body on earth, when Jesus brings heaven back to earth, and God is present with me right now in this moment, my body is a temple of his holy spirit, in this moment, he loves me and cares for me all the way to the hairs of my head and the cells of my body, do I really need what I think I need? These questions can help you realize where you're unconsciously attaching to a want as a need. And consciously release it by remembering that in Christ, you already have everything you need. Because you're in Christ and Christ is in you, the I am who created this entire universe, the source of all existence, the giver of all life, the one whose wisdom and knowledge inhabits eternity, and the one who is always 100% present with you and in you, and is bringing you into his eternal plan, you already have everything you need, that you can trust God's presence and love and care for you that is far greater than your plan for yourself, your false self, your old self that was crucified with Christ, your shadowy self that drives your anxieties, your fears, your insecurities, your anger, and anger fantasies, your tension and stress. So the verses right before this, Colossians 3: 9 says," Since you have taken off your old self with its practices, and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its creator, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. And over all these virtues, put on love." Meditation is remembering that God has chosen you. He wanted you. He wants you. You're one of God's chosen people. You're one of the people God wants. You're already holy and dearly loved because you're in Christ and Christ is in you. Your body is a temple of his holy spirit. You've been washed. You've been sanctified. You've been justified in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, and by the spirit of our God, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6: 11. So as God's chosen person, God has chosen you. He wanted you. He wants you. And you are already holy. You are already dearly loved. Knowing this, putting your confidence in this, resting in this, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, and love. Feel this, this taking off the old self and putting on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of your creator. And clothing yourself, clothing your body, putting on your body. Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and love. Feel this, this putting on as intensely as you can in your body. Feel in your body the putting on of compassion, putting on kindness in your body, humility into your body, gentleness into your body, putting on patience into your body, putting on love into your body. Because by God's spirit, you're being renewed into the image of your creator. And this is how God is. This is who God is toward you. You are chosen, made holy, and dearly loved by God's compassion, kindness for you, his humility in becoming Jesus, dying on the cross for you, rising from the dead, his gentleness toward you, his patience toward you, his love for you. You're putting on God. You're putting on into your body compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and love. Feel this putting on into your entire body right now, breathing in compassion, breathing in kindness, breathing out your anger fantasies, breathing out your insecurities, breathing out your anxieties, breathing in humility and gentleness, breathing out frustration, anger, impatience. Breathing in patience, breathing out impatience. Breathing in God's love, and breathing out your fears and insecurities and anxieties. As God's chosen person, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself, your body. Put into your body, using your imagination, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and love. Feel this putting on into your body right now. Heavenly Father, I thank you. I don't understand how all this works, but I thank you that you have called me chosen. You call me holy. You tell me that I am dearly loved. So I trust in your love for me. I trust in your promise that you have made my body holy and that's why I am a temple of your holy spirit. I trust that you want me. You have created me to exist in your universe forever, and you want me. And you have shown me your gentleness and your compassion and kindness and patience and love, your humility. And I put on these by your holy spirit, inhabiting me as your temple, my body as your temple. I put on into my body, compassion and kindness and humility and gentleness and patience and love because I trust in your presence in me and with me. I trust in your love for me that is constant and eternal. I trust in your care for me that is all the way down to the hairs of my head and the cells in my body. I rest in you, calmly competent in you, in Jesus' name, amen. If you found this podcast helpful, please subscribe so you'll be sure to receive our next episode each Tuesday and Thursday morning. Our audio engineer is Diego Huaman. Thanks for listening to Christian Meditation for a Bigger Life.
God’s love is described in the New Testament as something you imaginatively “clothe yourself” with. This kind of Christian meditation brings the transcendent experience of God into your mind and into your body so that you can replace anxiety, insecurity, stress and tension with the better and truer imagination of God’s infinite and intimate presence and love for YOU.
If your podcast app is set to skip the silent sections, disable that for this podcast.
Body mindfulness and awareness helps you embrace your body — recalibrate your body — with the reality of God’s life-giving presence and love.
We will first focus on meditation and your body. Connecting your physical body with your spirit. Then we’ll add a meditation on Colossians 3:13 to re-calibrate your body and spirit with God’s presence and love..
…as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. …14 And over all these virtues put on love…”
Steve Cuss (Managing Leadership Anxiety)
Anxiety is a signal, not a root cause. Anxiety is generated when we think we need something in any particular moment that we don’t actually need. Anxiety is not just worry and fear. It’s how you react when you don’t get something you think you need.
The point is that anxiety becomes a marker that something other than God’s presence and love is at play in my mind and body.
So when anxiety strikes (elevated heart rate, muscle tension, mental distraction, anger fantasies), some questions to consider:
1) What do I feel I need that’s being threatened?
2) Why do I feel that I need it?
3) Do I really need it?
These questions can help you realize where you’re unconsciously attaching to a want as a “need” and consciously release it by remembering that in Christ you already have everything you need. That you can trust God‘s presence and love and care for you that is far greater than your plan for yourself and your “false self” (old self) that drives your anxieties and fears and insecurities and anger and anger fantasies and stress.
Notice what Paul says before this…
Colossians 3:9-10 (NIV)
…Since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator…
Remember Thomas Merton called this old self the “false self.”
Remember the old self was crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20).
…as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. …14 And over all these virtues put on love…”
Feel this taking off the old self and putting on the new self and “clothing yourself” inside those parts as intensely as you can.
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