Contemplative is one of my favorite words. I love that it can refer to a religious order, probably because I know deep in my heart that if I were Catholic, I would join a convent. (I tend to go to the extremes) I also love the word contemplative because it is something I strive to be, yet often fail to achieve. It is a goal in a word and one that happens to be used infrequently, perhaps as a result of a cultural trend away from contemplation and stillness.
Contemplative is going to be my word of the month as I seek to focus on what amounts to be a spiritual discipline of quiet surrender and ultimate obedience. I've recently had the opportunity to observe two totally different individuals who have served in ministry for decades and who are often set upon pedestals in the minds of many. These two individuals, totally different from one another in demographic and ministry, have one thing in common. Humility. I have seen in each of them a single, compelling desire to love God with all their heart, soul, and mind coupled with an intentional shedding of the fear of man that finds itself in actions motivated by man's approval. It sounds cliché, but they are living for an audience of One. So simple and so incredibly difficult.
I know two other things about these individuals- they both got there by being contemplative and it really is Christ. Unfortunately, my natural inclination is to idolatrously strive toward actions that might help me be like these two individuals...but it really is Christ to Whom I should be striving.
"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:1-11