There’s a danger in the disciplines of a spiritual life being rote and routine. Knowing that righteousness has been granted to us as a free gift and that our effort by itself can’t take us any deeper in God, you might find yourself not putting in any effort at all. It’s not hard to shun or hold of little value anything that seems ‘Works’ related. One may say, “If it involves my relationship with God, it’s not about my effort or what I do, I just simply soak up God’s grace.”
And so we become lax with prayer, fasting, meditation, solitude and service; assuming that the only part we play is having faith. We are afraid to be Pharisees and so swing to the other extreme of a walk with God with little or no desire for the disciplines of spiritual life. Saying, “I pray when I get the chance. I read the word when I find some time.” I too am guilty of this, but I’m realizing now that the blend of our effort and God’s grace is like a dance between God and us.
“…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2: 12b- 13
Isn’t it interesting? We are to work, yet God is the one who works in us to will (desire) to work (do). Some get stuck in vs 12 seeking their identify and affirmation in God from what they do. Some skip vs 12, going straight to vs 13, reveling in God’s grace, but never responding to it. Neither way is right. Robert Foster in his book Celebration of Discipline said:
“God has given us the disciplines of spiritual life as a means of receiving His grace. The disciplines allow us to place ourselves before God so He can transform us”
So, even though our works are ineffective by themselves, yet we can’t simply be idle. The disciplines are like our cues in this love dance with God, with a fundamental part of the motion being our acceptance of His free grace and justification. Do you need more Spiritual discipline in your life? Why don’t you ask God to speak to your heart about what He may have you do differently and then do it? If we are to be more like Jesus we need to take advantage of opportunities to grow through fasting, meditation on God’s word, times of quiet and solitude, service and more. The Christian walk is a marathon and we need to be in great shape to run the race. Let’s hit the gym of Spiritual Disciplines as we drink the Gatorade of God’s grace.