Devotion meets Discipline (part 2)
In Devotion meets Discipline (Part 1) we explored how adding structure to our spiritual walk could create a nurturing environment within an authentic and even organic relationship with God could take root. We touched on 3 useful disciplines that could enrich our discipleship practice. These were:
1. The Discipline of Prayer
2.The Discipline of going into the secret place
3. The Discipline of Reading God's Word.
For more on these you can revisit Devotion meets Discipline (part 1.) Within this post, however, we will continue with three more vital disciplines that are critical additions to Christian practice. In fact, I dare say that these disciplines should not be additions at all, but should rather be expected outworkings of normal Christian life.
4.The Discipline of Meditation
Don't become overly mystical when you hear about meditation. I'm not talking about sitting in a lotus position and emptying your mind. Au contraire, in Joshua 1:8, the Biblical usage of the word "meditate" means "to mutter to oneself. It speaks of thinking deeply on and repeating God's word to yourself on a continuous basis. Why is this important? Meditation is a form of mental reconditioning. Romans 12 :1,2 indicate that we can be transformed by renewing our minds. We become what our minds digest on a constant basis. Whether it is the world's ideologies, or God's life-giving Word; we become what we meditate upon.
5. The Discipline of Fasting
Simply put, fasting involves abstinence from food and. or drink (and sometimes also creature comforts) for the purpose of humbling oneself before God. I've spoken about fasting in some of my previous blog posts, so I won't go too much in depth about it here. I will reiterate, however, that it is a critical Christian discipline. Some Christians feel that fasting is optional , but Jesus' words to the disciples would suggest otherwise. In Matthew 6:16, Jesus told the disciples "WHEN YE FAST..." not IF. Some people would argue that it was His mandate specifically to the twelve, but this reasoning breaks down when we see Jesus commissioning the disciples to make other disciples and to teach them EVERYTHING that HE had commanded them. Guess what that means? It means we're expected to be a fasting Church. Its astounding how denying one of the basic human instincts of eating for a period of time can challenge more than just our growling stomachs; eating away at pride, self-indulgence and greed. Fasting definitely take discipline. That's why it's so effective in propelling us forward spiritually.
6.The Discipline of Submission
The submission I speak of here is submission to God's purposes and mandates as expressed within His Word. I put this discipline last because none of the above disciplines can be mastered without this one. What good is any other discipline if our hearts are not inclined to obey?Who is your Lord? Is it the one who you CLAIM to obey? Or is it the one that you ACTUALLY OBEY? SO many times, we claim to have Christ as our Lord, but when the rubber meets the road we obey ourselves, our own whims and intuitions; even when God has made His desires plain. If at the end of day we choose to do our own thing, and to exalt our own intelligence over God's intelligence, we are fooling ourselves to call Him Lord. I say "choose" because submission is most definitely a choice. It is a choice we make moment to moment, and it requires discipline. Putting aside our own desires to accept God's desires is the hardest discipline of all, but we can't be Christian without it. If we master the discipline of submission, every other discipline will fall into place.