Monday, May 6, 2013

Core Competencies Part 2: Spiritual Disciplines

“We really must understand that the lust for affluence in contemporary society is psychotic. It is psychotic because it has completely lost touch with reality. We crave things we neither need nor enjoy. 'We buy things we do not want to impress people we do not like.' ...It is time to awaken to the fact that conformity to a sick society is to be sick.”i

The next area within Mark 12:30 focuses on is that we need to love God with all our soul. Our soul is not the things we think about, however our soul drives those things. Our soul is not what we do, even though it influences every move we make. Our soul is the thing that no one sees, but everyone knows about us. The Christian soul is driven by our conscience. A persons conscience is driven integrity and integrity is driven by personal disciplines that are unseen by people. If we want to love God with all our soul then we need to strengthen our practice at developing our personal spiritual disciplines.

There are many lists of what spiritual disciplines are but essentially spiritual disciplines are self-imposed habits that nurture spiritual health to develop a believer into a fully devoted follower of Christ.  Becoming a Christian is eternally important but if a believer never grows in the faith, it’s a like a hungry person going to an all you can eat buffet and just ordering water. They see the food all around them but they never experience it. Just like eating every day at that buffet will make a waist grow, so will daily engaging God in a disciplined manner lead to a deepening spiritual walk.

A believer who is not daily engaging with God will find spiritual growth difficult to obtain. If I do not talk to my wife for a couple of days our relationship with suffer. However, if I am intentional about putting myself, in her path, every day, for a meaningful amount of time, and engaging her while we are together, our relationship will be more meaningful. Just getting married does will not make people happy. Likewise, in our spiritual lives “Conversion does not make us perfect, but it does catapult us into a total experience of discipleship that affects - and infects - every sphere of our living.”ii

That being said believers need to be training their soul in such a way that when a believer encounters a nonbeliever, the believers personal spiritual disciplines and development shine through. The goal of a believer is for people to know they are a believer because the manner in which they hold themselves directly reflects their relationship with the savior.  Doing so allows Jesus is able to shine through every action they take and every nonverbal communication they engage in.

i.  Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth, 1978.
ii. Richard J. Foster, Devotional Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups, 1990.