- Select Your Bible Translation: This should be one you easily understand, but is also accurate. If you select the Message or Voice it would be wise to use the NIV or NAS/ESV to confirm accuracy. Additionally, read in whatever format is easiest for you to comprehend as much as possible (DVD, Audio, Digital, Print, or have someone read to you).
- Select Your Journal: Make this fun. Find one that combines writing space with an opportunity to create or paste visuals.
- Select Your Pen: Multiple colors add clarity and vibrancy to your study.
- Select Your Music Device: You can use any digital device or music service. If you don’t have access to one of these, borrow one from a friend, or visit a local spot, where you can engage in “Deep Reflection,” while enjoying their soundtrack or radio station.
- Create Your “Spiritual Advisory Circle:” a combination of 3-6 family or friends, who you trust to help you change (See Stage Number 4 in Deep Change). Your progress toward change is greatly enhanced when you share your daily journey with others.
Understanding The Theme
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.  They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.  Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.  That, however, is not the way of life you learned  when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.  You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.Ephesians 4:17-24 NIV
“Deep Change” requires a sense of destiny, understanding of our purpose, and experience of God’s grace. The first three quiet times should have helped us make progress in all of those areas, but if we don’t develop a “Deep Awareness,” then over time we are likely to lose our way.
“Deep Awareness” is a spiritual sensitivity to God and his Word that awakens our conscience, and stirs up the transformative power of the Holy Spirit for change. This awareness keeps us from slipping back into old patterns of life or attitudes of mind. Most importantly, “Deep Awareness” keeps us confident of God’s grace, so we can navigate the difficult or even discouraging stages of our spiritual journey, and reach the destiny to which God has called us.
Read Ephesians chapter 4 at a moderate to slow pace. Read it again, but this time underline or circle words that help you understand and determine your level of spiritual awareness. Select a verse or set of verses to write in your journal to help you strive for deeper levels of spiritual awareness.
3 Big Questions
- What does it mean when the Scriptures say we can experience “futility” in our thinking, or be “darkened in our understanding?”
- What has happened to our heart when we choose to ignore our spiritual condition? How might this affect our sensitivity to God, Scripture, sin, and people?
- How would you describe your life before you became a Christian? Do you see a desire to return to this life? Have you already started returning to these old patterns? What could you do to turn things around, and get back on course to seek God’s destiny and fulfill his purpose for your life?
1 Big Paragraph, 1 Big Prayer
“Deep Awareness” is a theme which can lead to powerful and transformative prayer. Throughout your study and contemplation, you probably experienced a variety of emotions, some of which made you feel great, while others might have made you feel guilt. This is a good sign, because it means you are deepening your spiritual awareness and as a result your sensitivity to God.
Take a few minutes to write a paragraph describing the state of your spiritual awareness, and how it has improved before you pray. If you have not seen improvement, describe any feelings of being stuck or resistant to exploring the deeper issues of your heart and soul.
Once you have written your paragraph, let it fuel an emotionally honest prayer, where you own any areas of darkness in your life, as well as laying claim to the light. Pray that God will incline your heart to follow the light and reject the darkness, and make sure you stay on course for your destiny and purpose.
Develop Your Soundtrack
After your prayer, spend a few minutes selecting an additional song for your spiritual soundtrack. This song should explain something of how you have felt during this quiet time.
This soundtrack will provide background sound, so even when you are in the midst of a number of people, or a significant amount of noise, you can allow your mind and heart to enter “Deep Reflection.”
Create Your Visuals
Select, draw, or take a picture so you can place it in your journal. Your goal with this visual is to be able to take one look at the picture, and remember exactly what you learned, how you felt and what you were thinking today.
Share Your Discovery
Share whatever lessons you have learned today with your spiritual advisory circle. It doesn’t matter whether your thoughts are positive, negative, or neutral. The key is knowing you discovered something about God and yourself today, which will ultimately draw you closer to Him; if you share it with other people, you will grow closer to them as well.