Divine space is the discipleship context most readily available to us, yet it is often the context that we focus upon the least. Divine space is defined as, “Being alone with God, your Creator and Redeemer (eg intentionally sitting and enjoying His presence).”* Because this space incorporates only the individual and God, one has perpetual access to it. But because of the business of our lives with demands from work, family, church, and friends, we often jettison this most significant of spaces.
We must follow Jesus’ model, trusting that fruit will be borne by our obedience. Jesus withdrew from crowds (Matthew 14:13, Mark 6:45-46, John 6:15), Jesus commanded us to be alone at times (Matthew 6:6), and Jesus desired solitude in His most distressful moments (Matthew 26:39). While many times we learn God’s will through mentors, sermons, and group life, we must not neglect discerning God’s will through time alone with Him. My worry is that life is so hectic, we won’t take time to reflect upon how the Lord is working through our experiences.
The contemplative pathway is not everyone’s most natural spiritual pathway; nevertheless, intentional solitude should be a regular part of one’s discipleship regimen. You can pray during this time, read the Bible, just sit and listen, or take a walk and reflect on your previous week in light of God’s nature. In these moments, we will be refreshed and renewed to pour ourselves out for others. Another option from which I have benefited is to learn my spiritual pathway and then to read the biblical stories about the characters most like me. I have gained much insight into myself from that exercise.
How do we make Divine Space available to our group members? First, we must preach it to them. We must make clear the importance of spending time alone with God. Second, we must model it. Share with your group members how you utilize this space in your self-discipleship. Third, encourage your group members to take advantage of the “self-guided study” dimension of JourneyOn. I cannot overstate the value of running some theological or spiritual idea down by studying the Scriptures and reading numerous books, listening to numerous podcasts, or watching video presentations of it until it is settled in our mind. The JourneyOn strategy provides for this domain by offering your group member (and you) a list of resources on their topic of interest. Then, if they so desire, they could talk with me (or some expert if I can find one) about this issue after having studied it. I did something similar through an independent study of the “Metaphysics of Causation” in seminary which fundamentally changed my life.
However it occurs, we must be clear, as leaders, that one is not experiencing holistic discipleship if one is neglecting the Divine Space. As shepherds, we must urge our group members to engage this space.