Recently while praying and reflecting a phrase came to me, “The virtue of slowing down.” In my experience there is great virtue in slowing down. As someone who has long had a tendency to be too ‘busy’ I appreciate this virtue. I have learned that I need to be internally reflective to hear His voice. I have had many experiences of Jesus presence and I have had words of knowledge for others hundreds of times, usually in the context of worship. Yet in my own walk with Jesus whether I get off somewhere quiet or internally tune my heart in the midst of busyness, it is in intentionally slowing down and looking to Him that I am more conscious of His presence and receive His direction.
An example in scripture is the encounter Jesus has with the Samaritan woman in John 4. Jesus slowed down. He sent His disciples off to get food and He sat by a well patiently waiting for the appointment He had with this woman – a meeting His father had arranged. In the end He described this encounter flowing from doing His Father’s will as spiritual food that nourished Him (Jn. 4:32-34).
We may be tempted to discount this as happening because it was Jesus. Yet He calls us to this same process. He wants us to meet with Him and that is a choice we regularly have before us. It is the testimony of scripture and history that hearing His voice and knowing His presence is generally rooted in an intentional pursuit of His presence. There are many examples in scripture of Jesus getting alone to be with His Father. The famous Brother Lawrence encountered Jesus in his day to day activities in the kitchen. Jeanne Guyon spoke and wrote of this as available to all believers. Some of the leaders her book, Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ great influenced include John Wesley, Watchmen Nee and John Wimber and the Vineyard movement. There are a multitude of others but these serve to illustrate the ‘Virtue of Slowing Down.’ While not using the phrase, this is what Guyon advocated – an intentional focus on Jesus and encountering His presence.
The idea is well captured in some lines from a song by Jason Upton, “If the present is a place that my future will define I want to slow things down and take a little time. Can you help me do it Jesus?” So, if we want to experience the ‘Virtue of Slowing Down’ let’s ask Jesus to help us. He will.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things. Philippians 4:6-8 (NKJV)
3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)
A Hammer and an Awkward Nail by Jason Upton