Growing in the Spiritual Disciplines

Posted On May 17, 2017

How do I engage in spiritual disciplines?

Inconsistently. That single word describes two sides to my practice of spiritual disciples.

On the one hand, I use the word inconsistently to describe my struggle with spiritual disciplines. Over the last twenty years, I have regularly spent time in Bible reading and prayer. However, I’ve consistently missed days. Despite my good intentions, I’ve never been able to have a “quiet time” every single day for an extended period without missing a day.

Here are a few examples of my “inconsistency.”

  • I have four young kids. Kids require tremendous time and energy. There have been times when the exhaustion of parenting took me away from consistency in spiritual disciplines.
  • I’ve never been great at maintaining my routine when I’m on vacation. I always have great intentions of catching up or spending time in solitude. Those plans rarely pan out.
  • My wife and I have moved six times in 15 years of marriage. Moving is the worst, and it’s always been hard for me to be regular in spiritual disciplines in the process of moving.
  • Sundays have always been a challenge for me when I think about spiritual disciplines. Of course, I’m up early studying and praying, but it’s focused on my sermon, not my soul.

So, just to be transparent, I have to admit that I engage in spiritual disciplines inconsistently. I just don’t have an impressive streak of consecutive days of faithful Bible reading and prayer.

On the other hand, inconsistency is part of my strategy when it comes to spiritual disciplines. I regularly change up my devotional time. I do this because routine quickly results in boredom in my life. Changes may include new Bibles, new journals, new times, or new locations, but a regular change in my approach prevents me from letting a good routine turn into an empty ritual.

Beyond the word inconsistency, my approach to spiritual disciplines is pretty straightforward. I want to hear from God, I want to talk to God, and I want to learn about God.

Hearing from God. This happens through Bible reading. Each year I have a Bible reading plan. Sometimes that plan is reading through the Bible in a year. Sometimes that plan is using a journaling Bible, reading cover to cover, and writing my thoughts as I read. Whatever plan I end up using, I always want to start by hearing from God by reading his word.

Talking to God. This happens through prayer, and for me, this is the hardest spiritual discipline. It’s hard to stay focused. It’s hard not to be dully repetitive. As an aid, I often use journaling as a companion to prayer. I may write out a verse as I pray in response, or I might write my actual prayers. Either way, the act of writing helps me focus on the act of prayer.

Learning about God. Some may not consider this a spiritual discipline. I do. For thousands of years, the vast majority of Christians did not have a complete Bible they could read during their daily devotional time. Instead, they were dependent on the community of believers to help them grow in their knowledge of and love for God. Even with easy access to the Scriptures, I believe we still ought to depend on the community of believers to grow. For me, this takes the form of reading books and listening to podcasts. I never want these activities to supplant Bible intake and prayer. I do want these activities to enhance Bible reading and prayer. If I know anything, I know enough to know I don’t know enough. I always want to be learning more about God, growing in the knowledge of God and growing in love for God.

Related Posts

An Insolent Generation

An Insolent Generation

Hebrews 3:10–11, “Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.’ 11 As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’” Over 3,400 years ago, God heard the cries of His people who were...

The Meaning And Purpose Of Money In The Christian Life

The Meaning And Purpose Of Money In The Christian Life

On today’s episode, a listener writes in and asks Dave, “What Does the Bible Say About Money?" What you’ll hear in this episode Christians Will Be Accountable for How They Use Money. Understanding Wrong Motives About Money. Money Cannot Ultimately Satisfy. Wise...

The Deity of the Holy Spirit

The Deity of the Holy Spirit

Today we’ll continue our study of “Great Doctrines of the Bible” by Martyn Lloyd-Jones (MLJ) by looking at chapter 2 (vol. II), “The Deity of the Holy Spirit.” In the previous chapter, MLJ argued for the personality of the Holy Spirit. Next, he will demonstrate the...

Harden Not Your Hearts

Harden Not Your Hearts

Hebrews 3:7–10, "7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,     on the day of testing in the wilderness, 9 where your fathers put me to the test     and saw my works for forty years....

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share9
Reddit
Pin
Share
Email