Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Midweek Meditation: "Desire and Discipline"

Christian Disciplines have been much talked about whenever we deal with the health or spiritual growth of a Christian. Many Christian communities have at least these four disciplines:

  • PRAYER: A desire to deepen our praying lives
  • BIBLE: A desire to deepen our knowledge of God's Word
  • FELLOWSHIP: A desire to deepen our connections with one another in the community
  • SHARING: A desire to share the gospel both inside and outside of the Church

Disciplines alone can only carry us so far. Something else needs to inspire us toward doing these disciplines. This is called desire. Adele Ahlberg Calhoun observes the centuries of connections between Discipline and Desire. An important reminder is this. It is not the discipline that make us more like Christ. It is the Holy Spirit of God that prompts us to be more Christlike, using the disciplines as tools to help us along.

TITLE: Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun (19-Oct-2005) Paperback

"From its beginning the church linked the desire for more of God to intentional practices, relationships and experiences that gave people space in their lives to 'keep company' with Jesus. These intentional practices, relationships, and experiences we know as spiritual disciplines. The basic rhythm of disciplines (or rule) for the first believers is found in Acts 2:42: 'They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching [a practice] and to the fellowship [relationships], to the breaking of bread [an experience], and to prayer [another practice].

The desire to know God and love God fueled these disciplines. But as the early Church community ran into new situations of want, conflict, temptation, and persecution, they wanted and needed help to persevere in keeping company with Jesus. The book of Acts recounts a variety of ways the first-century believers made space for God as they faced difficulties:

  • Acts 3 - the discipline of compassion
  • Acts 4 - the discipline of witness, intercession and detachment
  • Acts 7 - the discipline of service
  • Acts 3:1, 10:9 - the discipline of fixed-hour prayer
  • Acts 14:23 - the discipline of fasting
  • Acts 15 - the discipline of discernment.

Ask yourself, How do I want to or need to be with God? Circle the letter in WORSHIP that most catches your attention.

Worship God
Open myself to God
Relinquish the false self and idols of my heart
Share my life with others
Hear the Word of God
Incarnate Christ's love for the world
Pray to God." 

(Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, Downers Grove, IL:  IVP, 2005, p17, 21)

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