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Stop and learn

"The LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him." Habakkuk 2. 20

In my devotions this morning I came across a saying associated with the mediaeval luminary Thomas a Kempis: "When I have been much in the company of men, I emerge feeling diminished." Put a bunch of sinners together and what's to be expected but that we infect each other with our sinfulness!

The antidote is, of course, to make sure we balance social interaction, which cannot be avoided, with time apart with God, which has to be prioritised if it is to happen at all. According to my devotional source, the principle cascades into other areas of life and interaction. If we aspire to be leaders we need to know how to follow, to speak effectively we need to learn how to listen, to exercise authority we need to realise that we too are accountable.

Christians believe that the destiny of all believers is to become like Christ, increasingly to resemble him. This isn't going to happen by talking about him. Rather it comes as we submit our lives to him, spending time with him and allowing his concerns to dominate our agenda. This is much more than hitting him with a list of prayer requests. Indeed most of the time will involve our passivity, simply enjoying time out alone in his presence.

You can do that in the hills or in the comfort of your favourite armchair. It can happen in church or on a boat. You don't need words but you do need a heart which is open and a mind that is receptive. Habakkuk reflects the assumptions of the Jews of his day, that the Lord holds court in the Jerusalem Temple. Jesus shifted our understanding of "temple" from building to body: we are all temples of the Holy Spirit.

Imagine that. We are to be silent because the Lord of creation is in his people who, by virtue of our faith, are become "his holy temple." Stunned silence indeed!

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