When you hear the words, “Spiritual Disciplines,” what comes to your mind? For many, feelings of religious striving start to envelope their thinking. They may have difficulty listing many of the disciplines, but they don’t have trouble experiencing guilt, boredom, dryness or tiredness that the enemy wants to associate with these practices. Maybe it's just the word “Discipline” that sounds odious.
In reality, spiritual disciplines can be an incredible means of accessing God and experiencing His grace. Maybe it is more comfortable for us to call them practices. They are like maps that point us in the direction of God. They help direct our attention toward Him, and they can bring us a sense of closer proximity. Some of the practices that many find helpful relate to the Bible (reading, study and/or meditation); Prayer (silence, stillness, solitude, listening, dialog); Reflection (personal awareness, examination of conscience); Fasting (abstaining from food for spiritual purposes; partial day, full day, 3 – 7 days); Confession (of sin and weakness; to God and/or to others); and Service (alone or with others) to others.These, and many other practices done for the purpose of growing closer to God, can be very helpful to redirect or deepen our attention toward God. They require a certain amount of work/effort – they help us “pay” attention to Him.
In themselves, Spiritual Disciplines have no reward. Mastering the practices does not necessarily avail positive fruit. Their reward is found in the focus of their purpose - to draw close to God – to experience Him more intimately. This is the incentive for practicing Spiritual Disciplines. They both remind us and help us to be most deeply satisfied with God, so that we do not go looking elsewhere for false comforts and satisfactions.
David wrote: “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek You; I thirst for You, my whole being longs for You, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen You in the sanctuary and beheld Your power and Your glory. Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You. I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise You.” (Psalm 63:1-5)
Notice how many times He mentions the One on whom He is focusing.
David is declaring the source of his deep satisfaction.
This is a great time of year to exercise some spiritual discipline. You may choose to consider focusing in on one or two disciplines that you think could be personally helpful. Select them and schedule some consistent practices over the next month. Rededicate yourself to grow close to God and to being satisfied in Him. See if He will embrace you and reveal Himself to you in new and fresh ways.
~ Coach Tom
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