Friday, October 19, 2018
Why Spiritual Disciplines?
Spiritual disciplines are essential for the Christian walk. There are things that one person may say are essential to the Christian walk and there are things that people may say must be cut out. The Bible makes the statement GAL 5-6 that in embracing the things of the Spirit we choke out the things of the flesh and in embracing the things of the flesh we choke out the things of the Spirit. So, if we desire to walk with the Spirit of God rather than against we must embrace the things of the Spirit and these things are disciplines which produce the intended fruit. Intentionally embracing them is disciplining yourself to embrace them. It is not that anyone should get so wrapped up in disciplining himself or herself that the discipline becomes the most important thing. The process as a god of sorts would be a huge mistake and so falling into that trap must be avoided. Ironically, the Spiritual disciplines and their nature of being subject to the Spirit have a built in defense and serve as a defense against idolizing them. This book is about growing. When you were born again you began to learn again to walk, to talk, to eat, to work, and to play for the Lord Jesus Christ instead of yourself. If you have not as you read this accepted Him as Lord and savior you have that process ahead of you. Perhaps it is that very thought that intimidates you and causes you to take this risk with your immortal soul. You don’t want to experience the, perceived as painful, process of learning the basics all over again and so you hold back from a commitment to follow Christ. This growth is not really painful. It is done without regret. We are not to dwell on how poorly we learned the first time or on our failures as we discover and work to overcome them. Rather, we continually rejoice in our ability to grow and learn. As it was when we were children, the world is a new and seemingly very large playground once again and we rejoice in the thrill of experiencing it through un-blindfolded eyes. God has taken the shackles off and as we grow, with each new step we realize the excitement of what we are now capable of and what is made possible in us by our new relationship with Christ. This relationship remains new. Even as we grow and become those who can handle a larger portion, a deeper teaching, or a harder to digest call to repentance and progress, we realize we will always be young in the faith on an eternal scale. God has made us new and continues to regenerate us so that our pains do not scar us and our past mistakes do not accumulate to haunt us. We sleep the restful sleep of the new born exhausted after a day’s play. We lay our head on the very shoulder of God and enjoy our rest as He carries us. But while we are awake we are at the fight. We apply what we know and that to which we have thus far attained to advance the kingdom of God on earth. We take our play very seriously indeed. We know that it is He that will determine the outcome but that the effort that is requested of us is never in vain and never undertaken alone. This fight is the discipline that God has called us to and while its victory may not be based on our proficiency it is definitely tied to our willingness to fight. We can do this. We can listen, study, learn, and obey. With the ease of changing clothes, we can engage in the acts of righteousness we know and put off the works of the deceitful lusts that we have identified. We can listen to the sermon, listen to the word, read the word, study its meaning, searching for and finding those applications that speak directly to us. We realize that even as we do this collected together in one room the Lord may work differently in each of us. We have as our ultimate goal each of us growing to maturity but we know that there is an immense variation in the context of every individual life. Only God may manage all these variables. It is to Him that we submit and trust that He will see us through to the other side in complete victory. To that end, we will be disciplined. We can do this in Him.