Monday, January 27, 2014

Brief look at Spiritual Disciplines and thier importance

Donald Whitney has a list of eleven disciplines listed in his classic work Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.  There are some here that may be surprising to some and not others. The list consists of Bible intake, prayer, worship, evangelism, serving, stewardship, fasting, silence and solitude, journaling, and learning. This is a great list for Christians to have at work in their private lives and even greater for the church as whole.  As to the importance of the disciplines Whitney says, “Think of the Spiritual Disciplines as ways we can place ourselves in the path of God’s grace and seek Him much as Bartimaeus and Zacchaues placed themselves in Jesus’ path and sought Him.”[1]

            I believe that if members of the local church started to practice any number of these disciplines on a regular schedule we would start seeing communities changed and lives transformed. Each of these disciplines has its on sense of power and how it can be effective. For instance fasting can make a difference in the lives of someone else or the person being fasted for. I say this because a year or so ago I was suffering from severe migraines for days on end without any relief, and the men of my outdoorsmen’s Bible study decided that they were going to take turns over the period of a week and fast for me. Some of the brother fasted for one day others for three to four days, and one brother who had never fasted before skipped several meals daily for several days. And at the end of that week I had chosen to fast not knowing their decision and after my fast my headaches ceased.  I was humbled and amazed by the sacrifice these men made and the way God showed up in all of our lives.

            Now imagine if we could get an entire body to realize the power that lies behind any of these disciplines. I think part of the trouble we have is that most Christians feel that they are not well enough equipped in how to do certain things.  I have heard the excuse that the reason some people do not pray is because they do not know how. I have explained that prayer is a conversation between you and God. Once we can get everyone on the same page it is awe inspiring the things that can happen. So find examples that can be used and start in your own life and try to incorporate it into the local body, either a Bible study or your church itself.

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