Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Spiritual Disciplines

"And excercise thyself rather unto godliness." I Timothy 4:7b

I'm reading, once again, Spritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney.  I first read the book two and a half years ago.  I didn't make it all the way through it then, but what I read was so worth it.  Later, I picked it up again, re-read and again benefited but did not complete the book.  Tonight all is quiet in my home and I've yet again read the first chapter.  I've been blessed once again.

God's grace simply amazes me over and over again.  To think that he continues to love me as I continue to falter and fail, never ceases to put me in awe!  All because of Jesus and his blood that covers me.

What do I want out of my life?  Am I daily moving toward that goal.  Am I the person I want to be?  Who am I?  I've been pondering these questions heavily lately.  And God has been so good to give me peace, rest and answers.  At the very top, most of all, I want to be like Jesus.

I want to journal here what I learn as I plow through the Spiritual Disciplines book.  The following quotes come from the first chapter of the book.

Tom Landry, coach of the Dallas Cowboys football team for most of three decades, said, "The job of a football coach is to make men do what they don't want to do in order to achieve what they've always wanted to be."  In much the same way, Christians are called to make themselves do something they would not naturally do--pursue the Spiritual Disciplines--in order to become what they've always wanted to be, that is, like Jesus Christ.

Discipline without direction is drudgery.  
(For me vision is key!  Vision will keep me going when I've run out of energy.  It gives hope!  Sunday's sermon was so good.  I Chronicles 4:10, "And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!  And God granted him that which he requested.")

The Spiritual Disciples are the God-given menas we are to use in the Spirit-filled pusuit of Godliness.
(In this book he covers: Bible intake, prayer, worship, evangelism, service, stewardship, fasting, selence and solitude, journaling, and learning.  But he also mentions that there are many more such as: confession, accountablitiy, simplicity, submission, spiritual direction, celebration, affirmation, sacrifice, and "watching". )

Godly people are disciplined people.

Learning and following involve discipline, for those who only learn accidentally and follow incidentally are not true disciples.

He says of many Christians, "They have dabbled in everything but disciplined themselves in nothing.

I've never read anything by William Barclay but Donald Whitney quotes him as saying, "Nothing was ever achieved without discipline:.."  Barclay goes on to talk of Coleridge and says of him, "He lost himself in visions of work to be done, that always remained to be done." (This is why it is best that my life remains simple.  My mind can easily become overwhelmed and I can become almost paralyed as to what to do next.  Simplicity brings me clarity of thought and a calm that I cherish.)  Barclay also said, "No one ever reached any eminence, and no one having reached it ever maintained it, without discipline."

"Freedom and discipline have come to be regarded as mutually exclusive, when in fact freedom is not at all the oppostie, but the final reward, of discipline." ~ Elizabeth Elliot


Storybook Woods said...

Ohh great quote, I confess I brissle at the word discipline, but your post made me think. xoxox Clarice

Gumbo Lily said...

Best wishes on your journey through your book. I like the E.E. quote very much.