I’m over at Provoketive this week with this post (a version of which some may have read before).
Spiritual disciplines are activities in our power that we engage in to enable us to do what we cannot do by direct effort.
Dallas Willard in The Great Omission.
There is something so true about this statement. Spiritual disciplines are the way we train to become what we cannot become in any other way: Christlike.
Yet they have a bad name. Because no one likes discipline and no one actually likes hard work. If you plan to run the London Marathon, you don’t go on training runs in the wet grey of the London streets with the traffic thundering because you actually like said experience. But you go because you have seen the glory of the prize. You go because at night you dream of crossing the finishing line and in the day you live and breathe the vision of what could be. You do the training because you long for the goal and you know that training is the one thing in your power to do which will enable you to do that thing you cannot do by direct effort – getting out of bed one day and running 26.2 miles.
And spiritual disciplines are the same. Those who have walked long and faithfully with Christ have stayed the course not because they strained for what was impossible but because they understood that faithfulness is made up of daily decisions to pray, to read the Bible, to give, to worship, to celebrate and gather in community, to fast or to serve another without gain.
Yet there is a generation coming for whom discipline is perhaps even worse a word than it is for us. There is a generation coming – or perhaps half-generation in reality – of those in their twenties, many of whom do not see any reason to do that which is personally costly in their discipleship. They are Christians, yet many do not read their Bibles, they pray only snatched words as they run for the bus in the morning, they spend their money freely on going out but balk at the idea of saving to go on a missions trip or a training day to equip them as disciples in their workplaces. [To keep reading…]
Photo credit: some rights reserved by Lieven Soete