Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Spiritual Workouts

Spiritual discipline. It's a term that stirs a mixture of feelings for me. I want to be spiritual. But discipline suggests work. And while I consider myself a fairly disciplined person, I find spiritual disciplines very difficult at times. Scripture reading. Prayer. Fasting. None of them are easy, nor do any of them become habit-forming. They demand a daily, determined effort.

I am encouraged, however, as I read from great people in history -- people we would consider to be spiritual giants. What encourages me is that these disciplines didn't come easily for them, either. They continually struggled with them -- for their whole lives.

Listen to what Philip Yancey writes about these "spiritual athletes." He says "they acted voluntarily, and few looked back on their experiences with much regret. We live in a society that cannot comprehend those who fast or carve out two hours for a quiet time, and yet honors professional football players who work out with weights five hours a day and undergo a dozen knee and shoulder surgeries to repair the damage they inflict on themselves in the sport."

I want to be spiritually "in shape." The reality is that it takes a workout regimen every bit as grueling as keeping my body in shape. Yet, it obviously pays more lasting benefits. So, I'm determined to keep after it!


Beverly Ross said...

My heart is so here! I am determined to be more spiritually disciplined. I want to do 'whatever it takes' to know Him more intimately!
Thanks for sharing Yancey's quote!

Liz Moore said...

I'm with you, I want to be spiritually in shape! It is difficult because it demands daily focus and attention. And Satan is constantly trying to still that attention away from God. I find that the more I'm studying, praying and in the word, the more I want to be. You just can't seem to get enough. I hear that's what it's like when you have a regular physical workout regimen! Although I'm not quite as familiar with that! Maybe someday I can improve that as well!

Kyle R. said...

Personally I have found it helpful to engage in physical and spiritual exercise at the same time. I do a lot of praying and meditating while I run in the mornings. It's awesome to watch the sun rise while your talking to the Creator!

--Kyle R.

Josh Ross said...

I like the thoughts.
Spiritual disciplines need to be planned, and spontaneous. They need to be planned at times because if they aren't than they will not happen. For instance, if we don't plan to fast, it won't happen. If we don't designate time for prayer, it sometimes won't happen.

Spiritual disciplines also need to be spontaneous, because sometimes circumstances draw us into "wasting" time with God. For instance, spiritual disciplines call us to be generous with our money when we come in contact with the poor. They demand for us to pray without ceasing. They usher us to open our homes in order to invest in people.

For a few good reads concerning Spiritual Disciplines, check out:
-Donald Whitney, "Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life."
-Henri Nouwen, "The Way of the Heart."
-Charles Swindoll, "Intimacy with the Almighty." is the place to buy books.

Amy C said...

What amazing encouragement to get into shape spiritually and physically.