1 Peter 1:23
You have been born again, not from seed which decays but from seed which does not–through the living and abiding word of God.
Soaking in this verse recently, what shimmered for me was “the living and abiding word of God.”
“Word” here is translated from the Greek logos, a word so pregnant with meaning that some say there are no adequate words in human language to convey its cosmic depth as used in Holy Scripture. But since through this particular medium we’re using written words, let’s throw some together to give us a starting point.
We might say that logos is the creative expression of God, the agent of creation. God created the universe through His word. So, Jesus is the creative expression of God as a human being. Peter says logos here is the Gospel that was announced to you (v.25b). It is living and abiding–active now and always true, never expiring. I don’t believe we will ever completely comprehend the Gospel–God dying for us–in this life. Therefore, it will always do us good to sit and contemplate it, to just take it in and be grateful for this great mystery of love and sacrifice.
Our new life in Christ, our rebirth, is initiated and matured not by any human agency, but by this living and abiding word of the living and eternal God. “It is a means of spiritual life, animating us and exciting us in our duty,” said Matthew Henry in his commentary. It has vital, life-giving power because of who speaks it. “New life operates on the word of the living and eternal God,” said some dude named Bede a long time ago.
So as I was contemplating this phrase, the living and abiding word of God, I was thinking how non-negotiably necessary it is to run on this fuel for the spiritual life–to operate on the word of God, and how we must connect to this Source.
I was given the picture of a filling station (what people use to call gas stations). I wrote down, as I felt directed, in the margin of my Bible, “Filling at the station of contemplation–making a complete stop to do so.”
Your car runs on gasoline, and must be filled regularly. When you go to the filling station, one thing is required for sure in order to fill your car: You must come to a complete stop! I love this metaphor showing us that we too, must regularly come to a complete stop, not only to rest/sleep, but to really be filled with the Holy Spirit of God. Typically, also, you turn your car off, which we might compare to turning your brain off. Sometimes we need some time to stop thinking. We tend to think ourselves into insanity, don’t we? After turning the car off, we get out of our car to refuel. When we sit with God and soak in His presence, His word, the Gospel, we needs must get outside of ourselves. Drop our preconceptions, hang-ups, etc. and let the Spirit take us and guide us. To just receive.
When we contemplate, we simply receive. Meditation is chewing on something, and contemplation is just sitting with something, allowing the flow of it to wash over you. Both are great practices, and vital for growth in spiritual life and health.
May we take time daily, even if for a few minutes, to fill up at the station of contemplation, receiving from God Himself, making a complete stop to do so.