The Spiritual Disciplines
This winter, we are focusing on building up our Spiritual Disciplines at Worthington CRC. These activities are very similar to the disciplines an athlete practices as he prepares his body for competition, except we will be strengthening our Spiritual selves, not our physical bodies.
Each week we will be focusing on a chapter from the excellent book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney.
These are the excerpts from chapter 1:
Spiritual Disciplines are activities, not attitudes.
Discipline without direction is drudgery.
Although God will grant Christlikeness to us when Jesus returns, until then He intends for us to grow toward it. We aren’t merely to wait for holiness; we’re to pursue it.
It’s crucial — crucial — to understand that it’s not our pursuit of holiness that qualifies us to see the Lord.
The presence of the Holy Spirit causes all those in whom He resides to have new holy hungers they didn’t have before.
The Spiritual Disciplines are those practices found in Scripture that promote spiritual growth among believers in the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are the habits of devotion and experiential Christianity that have been practiced by the people of God since biblical times.
Many are deceived into thinking that they’ll make sufficient spiritual progress if they are deeply involved in the life of their church, believing that somehow their participation in meaningful church activities will compensate for the lack of a personal devotional life.
Disciplines are commended in Scripture: Bible intake, prayer, worship, evangelism, service, stewardship, fasting, silence and solitude, journaling, and learning.
To go to your favorite spot for prayer, for example, is the spiritual equivalent of going to a gym and using a weight machine.
I’ve seen Christians who are faithful to the church of God, who frequently demonstrate genuine enthusiasm for the things of God, and who are committed to the preaching of the Word of God, yet who trivialize their effectiveness for the kingdom of God through lack of discipline.
You could name athletes, musicians, or students who displayed enormous potential, but who failed to live up to that God-given potential simply because they could not discipline themselves to practice.
Many hear the term Spiritual Disciplines and think of bondage and burdens — things they have to do, not freedom. Nevertheless, there is a freedom in the Christian life that comes not through indolence, but discipline.