As God gives us desires and direction, we begin to pursue new goals. What is it you are passionate about seeing happen this year? What are you doing to pursue it?
The attainment to any worthy goal requires discipline. Last year I resolved to read more, requiring some added quiet space in my day. The year before, as I entered a new decade of life, I set a weight goal requiring a lifestyle change. Spiritual growth and kingdom goals are no different. The very word disciple is based on discipline. Discipline is training - doing something our natural selves are not inclined to do at the moment. It requires a decision. Success involves a plan.
Spiritual disciplines should be pursued with humility. They are not an end point or a badge of our spiritual maturity. They are not a trick to coerce God to our desire – but rather a tool to prepare our soul for God’s work in us. It is like the farmer preparing the soil - but it is God that grows the crop. It is He that brings the fruit.
Here are some thoughts for a renewed pursuit of discipleship and a few of the spiritual disciplines (remember that Jesus engaged in these disciplines as well).
Are you hearing God clearly? Cultivate being in the Word – including memorization and meditation. Here are some specific ideas I listed last year.
Are you praying regularly (without ceasing)? God will be glorified in His answers while we get to participate in what He is doing. God’s power is accessed here which causes true transformation and impacts lives for Him. Read “The Circle Maker” to challenge your prayer life.
What about fasting? Do you discipline the body so that when faced with hardship or temptation your stomach or desires don’t rule over you? This is God’s megaphone.
Do you practice rest and quiet? Silence allows God to direct your thoughts. Or are you constantly barraged with “noise”? What about a Sabbath?
When do you Celebrate and Worship? This is the discipline of thanking God and giving Him credit, regardless of your emotions. Are you engaged in privately and corporately praising God?
How are you Giving? It allows us to participate in the kingdom and is a reminder that everything belongs to God.
If you want to look at any of these more closely – there are some great resources like Dallas Willard's "Spirit of Disciplines", "Celebration of Discipline" by Richard Foster and numerous books by Jerry Bridges including "Pursuit of Holiness" and "Discipline of Grace."
Keep me posted on your pursuits!
"...for it is God who works in you…" Philippians 2:13