After years of doing the 'right' things I went off to college and decided it was high time that I got rid of the heavy load I had been carrying. For heavens sake, the Bible says that it is for freedom that we have been set free...I needed freedom from the guilt and burden of spiritual discipline! I suddenly turned into a raft that just floated along wherever the waters carried me.
It wasn't until much later in life that I learned private disciplines were not really anything like a motorboat or a raft.
When I was in graduate school in Arizona I joined a women's bible study led by Mary.
Mary practiced private disciplines in a way I had never seem them practiced before. It was as if she constantly held her hands cupped open waiting for God to pour something into them. I saw the overflow of what she received in the radiant way she loved God and loved others. For Mary, spending time in prayer or bible study or any other discipline was like a gift she couldn't wait to unwrap.
It was not something she felt she needed to earn. It was something she gratefully received.
It was not like a burden she avoided. It was like an invitation she accepted.
When I met Mary I began to see the practice of private disciplines more like a sailboat.
God sends the winds of His Holy Spirit and we set the sail to receive it.
We position ourselves to be moved and used by God.
Our goal isn't to earn. Our goal is to receive.
What if we were committed to receiving all that God wants to give us through the practice of private disciplines?
How would that change our hearts and minds?
How would that change the way we interact with our family and friends?
How would that change the impact we have on our community?
How would that move us away from the temporary things of this world to the eternal, enduring things of God?
Yesterday I taught on private disciplines at our church and offered some 'What If' suggestions. You can listen to the message HERE.
You can expect me to post more on this subject because, frankly, it's rocking my world...so stay tuned.
In the meantime let's encourage one another as we make our greatest commitment the greatest commandment.
And he said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.'