Sunday, October 16, 2011

Spiritual Discipline(s)

It is finally time to sort and pack for our trip back home.
That means that I must finish off the rest of my word pile!

Something I read in the devotional "Today in the Word," captured my attention.
The thoughts revolved around Habits of Faithfulness or Spiritual Disciplines.
They listed a few including simplicity and solitude, which seemed to stand out to me.   I liked their sound.
Does that sound strange?

This world of ours is very busy and is continually seeking to draw us in.
All the developments and advances in technology, et cetera are purported to make our lives simpler. 
To which I say HA!  No way!

I love to keep things simple.  I also long to live simply.
That doesn't mean that I would like to head to Amish country, but it does mean that I recognize and resist any unnecessary clutter in my life.

Stuff can really fill one's life.  It takes time and attention to tend to all of it.  I only want to be occupied with the stuff that Jesus chooses to fill my life!

He said:
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also"
As far as is not simply being alone for a while, it is being away from the busyness of life and being able to savor unrushed time with Papa.
In Psalm Forty-Six He said,
"Cease striving (Let go, relax) and know that I am God...."
As I was meditating on the subject I decided to Google the topic of Spiritual Disciplines.  I came across quite a few lists.  Some sites broke them down into two categories:  Disciplines of Abstinence and Disciplines of Engagement. 
The first is the quieter list, while the second definitely is more lively.
The first is between you and your God.
The second draws in others for the most part.

Here they are with what they mean for me.

Disciplines of Abstinence:
Silence.  I liked the sound of this one two. 
Fasting.  This definitely heightens a person's sensitivity to His Voice.
Simplicity or frugality.  Both, music to my ears!
Chastity.  Sexual purity, which is applicable to married, as well as single!
Secrecy.  This means no flaunting what we do for Papa!
Sacrifice.  Releasing something that holds great value in your heart.

Disciplines of Engagement
Study. Of His Word, of course, which includes meditation.
Worship.  Responding to Who our God is.
Celebration.  Joining with us to worship Him and rejoice in what He has
                       done for us.
Service.  Putting feet on our faith.
Prayer.  One-on-one communication with Papa.
Fellowship.  Enjoying the bond we share with His family.
Confession.  Recognizing that which His Spirit reveals
                      that dishonors Him  and seeking forgiveness.           
                     At times this will involve others; either to
                     help hold us accountable or because we have
                     wronged them.
Submission. We are called to respect those who are over us. 
                      Respect even when we know they are wrong. 
                      This is a tough one for me!

What a list, huh?!
Not an easy list, but valuable.
By His grace, He will develop these disciplines in us, if we desire them.

These disciplines are not meant to be burdens, but avenues to freedom.
The joy of walking with Him and becoming more like Him is immeasurable!

As these marks of character are developed in us we will find more strength in times of trouble; strength coupled with peace and joy.

Meditating over a number of the Psalms that David wrote it struck me that when he faced trials of all kinds he naturally turned to his God in prayer.
Why did it comes so easily to him?  Because it was one of the disciplines of his life.  Prayer was as natural as breathing to him.  A glorious habit of faithfulness that directed him to the Throne of God!

As I look forward to returning home, I am asking Papa to help me embrace these habits more fully. 
I want to be found faithful!!

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