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Knowing God, knowing oneself

"Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD." Lamentations 3. 40

In my devotions this morning I was learning the difference between consideration and contemplation. Or, maybe it would be fairer to say, I was learning about how consideration and contemplation work together in bringing the believer closer to God.

Consideration is about knowing oneself. Internally that means coming to a fair appreciation of one's strengths and weaknesses, the desires of one's heart and the fears that get in the way. The external dimension concerns one's role in society, which in turn determines how we apply our strengths and mitigate our weaknesses; also how we order our priorities. In summary, consideration is the search for the truth about ourselves.

Contemplation takes the emphasis off the self and focuses on God, who is truth. Therefore it is a different process. We are not analysing God, as we analyse ourselves in consideration. What would be the point? In consideration we are searching for our true selves; in contemplation there is no search, we are already where we want to be: in the embrace of our Creator and Redeemer. So far as we are able, we should be unaware of the passing of time; words are not necessary; being in his presence is enough.

Where consideration is active, contemplation is passive. And the point of it all? Contemplation nurtures our relationship with God, who is the source and end of everything. Consideration helps us find our place in the life he has made. Together, consideration and contemplation develop our maturity as believers.

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