Spiritual Disciplines are a popular pursuit right now in the Christian world. In the last 30 years, popular authors such as Richard Foster and Dallas Willard have brought out the practices of monks and nuns and given them significant attention so that their practices gather a person or community toward the movement of the Spirit of God in their lives.
The ones currently written about - fasting, study, service, and others - are worthy pursuits. Anything which places a person into the power-working of God in our lives are worth the effort and time to do so in a conscious way. The disciplines are a way to stay conscious of the presence of the living God so as to rest, delight and change in that presence.
Spending time with God causes this statement to be true: "I am my best self with you." This happens when we let God have his way with us, going no farther and growing no faster than grace allows.
There is nothing wrong with entering a discipline so as to flex our spiritual muscles. Discipline, as such, cultivates and strengthens the soul and the will by correcting mistaken influences and practices and by giving instruction which aims at increasing virtue.
Paul says it well in Romans 12: 1, 2 - And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a holy and living sacrifice - acceptable to Him. This is the way to truly worship him.
Don't copy the ways and customs of this world, but let God transform you by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to discern His will for you, which good and pleasing and perfect.
Transformed. Into a living sacrifice. True worship. Discern God's will.
Yes, yes, we would say!
Some people take engaging in spiritual disciplines quite seriously. Whether it's Lent, personal retreat or regular practice, they want to be in pursuit of God. But, I have a proposal to make: most of the time, we just engage in the disciplines that appeal to us. We might choose the most comfortable or attractive discipline. We probably choose the one that is in our control to do. The ones that fit into our schedule, our lifestyle, our own interests or priorities.
I am going to propose that the most impactful disciplines are those not in our control or in our personal intent of change areas. I propose that we can be lazy and self-serving in our pursuit of spiritual practices.
This series then is a sifting of disciplines I want to call An Unexpected Discipline, the ones we had not counted on experiencing. We did not know that hidden inside a life experience is a great lesson that challenges us to keep our focus on God, separating from how the world sees the experience and making us more aware of God's will for us. This is when we are changed the most - when we least expect it!
Here is the series: The Spiritual Disciplines of
Revelation from God
Some we hoped to attain but are surprised at the discipline inside them. Some are true surprises. I think these disciplines are more significant than our orchestrated ones because these are given by God, who always wants more for us than we want for ourselves!