Real Contemplation

Today in my devotional (By Faith Alone, 365 readings from the writings of Martin Luther), I found this great (and challenging) bit from Luther on "contemplation":
Formerly, many people wrote and taught about the differences between contemplating God and serving him in the world. Some people, who had the best intentions, spent their whole lives searching for visions and revelations. Some of them even recorded all of their dreams. They expected to receive personal messages from God without using the Word of God. What else is this but trying to climb into heaven without using the ladder God has provided? They were being fooled by the devil's tricks.

If you want to contemplate, then contemplate the right way. Think about your baptism. Read the Bible. Listen to sermons on God's Word. Honor your father and mother. Help a needy neighbor. Don't hide in a corner like people who think their personal devotions will give them a place on God's lap. They believe that they can be close to God without Christ, without God's Word, and without the sacraments. These people consider living life and doing everyday work beneath them. I also thought that way until God freed me of my error. The idea of spending life in quiet contemplation is very appealing. Human reason enjoys dabbling in miraculous signs and supernatural matters that it cannot understand.

Don't let Satan trick you. Approach spiritual matters in a different way. The true contemplative life is to listen to God's Word and believe it. Like Paul, decide to "deal with only one subject -- Jesus Christ, who was crucified" (1 Cor. 2.2). Jesus, along with His Word, is the only worthwhile object of contemplation.