At the beginning of the year, I talked a lot about spiritual disciplines. One, because people commit to things at the New Year. And two, because I think they are really valuable.
I’ll be honest. Growing up in the church, I had a pretty negative view of the spiritual disciplines. I thought they were things super-spiritual people did. I thought if I really loved God, I would do them. But, that was the wrong way to look at it.
As I’ve grown up, I’ve begun to long to be with God and to be made like Him. I say, “made like Him”, because I used to think I could do it. I thought I could and should be more like God. What I’ve found is I can’t. I can’t do it. But, He can. God can make me like Him. And that’s where spiritual disciplines come in.
A spiritual discipline is training a habit, a skill, or a space into our lives in order to make ourselves available to God’s word and His working. In other words, they are ways we purposefully engage God and create space in our lives for Him to engage us. God is going to do the work. When I participate in a spiritual discipline, I am committing to His work and making myself available to it.
I often think of the disciplines in four groupings. Now, these aren’t in the Bible. I made them up. But, it helps me think about them more clearly. I’m going to look at two of them in this blog and come back next week to look at the other two.
1. Seek-Speak Disciplines
Some disciplines are in this Seek-Speak category. We seek for God to speak to us. When I read my Bible, I am seeking God’s voice. Memorizing Scripture is a wonderful one of these.
I had a season in my life when I left my Bible on the nightstand. Every morning when I woke up, I would memorize a verse. Not forever, just for the moment. Then, I would go jump in the shower. Because honestly, my day starts about 10 minutes into my shower. That’s when my brain has its first conscious thoughts. And with this practice, my first thoughts were of the Truth I had just shoved into my brain. When I do this, God has the chance to speak all through my day via the verse I memorized. Meditation and prayer also fit here.
2. Seek-Shape Disciplines
Once again, I am seeking, but this time I am seeking for God to shape me. Confession, hospitality, service, and thanksgiving are powerful disciplines in this group. Thanksgiving is huge, but that was in a blog a couple of weeks ago I’ve also found confession to be really rich. When I willingly bring things from the darkness into God’s light, I’ve found He is faithful to meet me and that He desires to heal what I have hidden.
If you want to read more about these, I would highly recommend The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith and the classic, Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster.
Try one of these disciplines out this year. God will meet you and will make you like Him. It may be quick. It may take all year. It may take your whole life. But, God himself will be meeting with you and working on you. I can’t think of a better way to spend the year.