The third way people grow faith is through personal spiritual disciplines. Sunday was part of our study of spiritual growth based on some conversations Andy Stanley had conducted with committed Christians. We talked about daily times for prayer modeled in Mark 1 by Jesus early in the morning. We talked about reading scripture on a daily basis, as well as fasting, silence, serving, giving, and attending worship. They are all spiritual disciplines that build faith and draw us closer to God. Spiritual Disciplines are practices that we train ourselves to do now, so that we can benefit both now and down the road.
Spiritual disciplines have all the challenges of any discipline, but they are a way God builds faith in us. What I didn’t talk about was how we start a discipline. Some are convinced a person needs to get in the right frame of mind, have the right attitude and spirit. Then your motivation will allow you to easily practice your discipline. Others are convinced that it is through practice, doing the discipline, reluctantly pushing yourself to act; and then your attitude and spirit begin to embrace the full meaning and benefits of any spiritual discipline. That issue is probably unique to each person, but I do find that the latter works for me. “Just do it”.
What I didn’t count on was Michael’s comments to the children about having a desire to play the keyboard, so great a desire that even though practicing the piano was hard and challenging, that drive to be able to perform a piece was energizing. He enjoyed the discipline. It brought pleasure. That is true for spiritual disciplines as well. A daily time of prayer, a personal reading of a Gospel, regularly attending church, committing to a small group – any of those are driven by a passion to know Christ and to grow faith. It is through the disciplines that we become filled with the life that God intended.
Well, that is what I wished I had said.