Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Disciplines which Don't Hurt

Let’s talk today about the next of the “Godly Values which drive Good Decisions.” If you recall, in my list the next one is “disciplines.” No, that does not mean that I believe in spanking my children nor putting my students in hallway time-outs. Rather, it means I place a high value the Spiritual Disciplines. And the best way I can articulate this is in a threefold manner:
  • I will be a man of “one book” but constantly search for truth as revealed throughout God’s creation and by His children.
  • I will appropriate the means of grace earmarked by the Church for my spiritual well-being.
  • I will seek divine guidance in everything and walk in the Spirit submissively.

Now, these are somewhat self-evident. The reading of Scripture for me is paramount in maintaining my connection with God’s Wisdom and Will. But there is truth to be found in addition to personal Bible reading. Thus, I place myself regularly in prayer and accountability groups with other believers who speak truth into my life which may have otherwise remained hidden. My growth is dependent upon the prayers and nurturing of others.

The leads directly into the second use of the word “discipline.” The Church from ancient times right down to the present day have indicated that there are specific “means of grace” through which God speaks to His children most clearly and profoundly. Therefore, Angie and I are deeply involved in our local church; the preaching of the word and the participation in the sacraments are integral to our ministry and marriage. Moreover, personal and corporate prayer elevate my sensitivity to God’s Will and ability to discern His often quiet voice from all the world’s competing noise.

Finally, I want to submit all my acts and decisions to the Holy Spirit Himself. Now, that does not mean that I ask Jesus should I put ranch or honey-mustard dressing on my salad at lunch. But it does mean that as I walk throughout the day, I have one ear tuned to each person who comes in my path and the other ear is listening for the voice of the Spirit. Even when I have a cup of coffee with a friend or student; I hope and pray for the ability to encourage or comfort. Thus, I try desperately to never think of myself as ever being alone. This is both a wonderful practice to prevent idle temptations from overtaking me. (I am always amazed that people tell me they were “surprised by sin.” Where did they think they were going as they were walking as if God was not right alongside of them?) Plus this is such a healthy reminder that what we do is all under His leading and Lordship.

Speak from Your Word.
Reveal Yourself in a message from the pulpit or from the common elements of the Communion Table.
Make known Your will as we discover the mystery of the gift of prayer.
Disclose the wonder of Your glory in the comforting words of a friend.
And where two or three are gathered in Your Name, unveil Yourself.

Now, “Go with God.”

No comments: