Growing with spiritual discipline
 

Growing with Spiritual discipline.

“Discipline” is not a fun word.  When we hear this word we often get a picture of being punished or long difficult arduous training.  So when we hear the phrase “Spiritual disciplines” we may find that something in us immediately says: “No, Not interested!”.

Philosopher, writer and theologian Dallas Willard once said:

Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning. Earning is an attitude. Effort is an action. Grace, you know, does not just have to do with forgiveness of sins alone.

The idea he has here is that we cannot earn God’s love, but there are certain things we can do to help us grow with God.  

Spiritual disciplines are certain behaviors that help open our hearts and minds up to God’s presence and leading.  Spiritual disciplines are ways of training our souls and putting us in a better position to hear God in our lives and to celebrate the glories of the gospel.

Professor Donald Whitney wrote a book called: “Spiritual Disciplines For The Christian Life“.  Look what he says:

Rightly practiced, the spiritual disciplines take us deeper into the glories of the gospel of Jesus Christ, not away from it as though we have moved on to some advanced level of Christianity. 

What we want to do on this page is give you several links to help you get started with the hope that you might consider bringing some of these behaviors into your own life with Christ so that you might be able to go deeper and deeper into the glories of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  

 

Link 1- A deeper discussion about what spiritual disciplines are:
 
Link 2- A list of spiritual disciplines with concise descriptions

 

Link 3- Some great resources for beginning the journey:

Hello- below are 2 great resources to help you get started with Spiritual disciplines!  Both resources are on Amazon.

Spiritual disciplines for the Christian Life- by Donald Whitney.  Click here to order 
 
The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook- by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun. Click here to order

 

Link 4- Pastor Ryan’s random musings on spiritual disciplines

Pastor Ryan’s Random Musings on Spiritual Disciplines

Howdy and thanks for checking this out!

I want to say something very quickly about my journey with spiritual disciplines.  

I don’t practice everything all at once.  I go through seasons where I practice different disciplines; however, there are a few that I try to practice daily: Reading my bible and prayer.  Outside of that- the other disciplines that are often listed, kind of come and go.  

It has been said about spiritual disciplines that this very term used to describe them is misleading and it could direct people towards thinking that if you do these things you will have a deeper mystical experience of God and thus it is dangerous because it puts us in line with buddhism or hinduism.  Some critics may say that Spiritual disciplines may push us towards thinking that if we do these things, we are a super Christian, where as others who don’t do them- are more like second class citizens of God’s kingdom. 

This is definitely a danger; however, I think there is a level of mystical experience with God (i.e., being led by Him in our daily lives) that is not only ok for us to expect, but to celebrate in our lives.  Mystical experience as a Christian needs to be defined very carefully of course, but I do not subscribe to the idea that we are never to experience God’s presence in our lives.  I do not believe we are not supposed to hear from Him- only read about Him.  I grew up with this idea that God was pretty much absent, He left us His bible so now He no longer needs to speak with me.  God’s actually playing golf on a planet out near the alpha centauri star.  No, this isn’t true.  God is much closer to us than we think.  The Holy Spirit is much more active!  God is speaking, are we listening? 

The point of spiritual disciplines isn’t to become some modern day mystical guru of all things Jesus- the purpose of spiritual disciplines is to situate ourselves to worship; love and celebrate God.  The purpose of spiritual disciplines isn’t to find hope in our lives outside the Gospel but rather to remind us and train our hearts in the teachings of Christ!  The purpose is to train our souls to listen to a God who is powerfully present and loves to open the beauty of the gospel to us!

 

My journey with Spiritual Disciplines.

As I said before, I’ve seen many disciplines come and go from my life- giving and living generously is a spiritual discipline that has been in my life for decades.  Fasting is a discipline we see Jesus teach is connected to powerful prayer especially in relation to spiritual warfare.   Journaling isn’t specifically written about in the New Testament, but it is helpful in the process of setting our minds on Christ.  I am a terrible journaler.  I don’t do it well- I start a journal then don’t pick it up again till three months later.  But Jesus still loves me, and every time I have journaled, it has been a blessing.    

I love the discipline of silence and solitude.  I’m an introvert so of course I would!  However, I find in this world- we are bombarded by noise, it is only when we get into silence and solitude that some of this noise can be stripped away and we can let our souls rest and really listen to God.  

The point of helping point you to spiritual disciplines is to help you connect with some wonderful behaviors that can truly bless you as you walk with Jesus.  Again, the most important training we must cling to is to grow with the teachings of the Bible and to pray.  

May God bless you as you follow Him!!!

Pastor Ryan