Spiritual Disciplines Done Right!


Many of you who are a regular part of the “Coffee with the Lord” group know of the depth of my commitment to the value of Spiritual disciplines (Bible reading, reflection-meditation, prayer, worship, thanksgiving, fasting, etc.)!  I believe they are essential elements in a life of Spiritual health and vitality.  In fact they are a part of 7 core values I have articulated for myself:  “Value 7 – I value my quiet time with God.  Time spent with God — getting to know Him, His Word, seeking His will, embracing His purposes, and listening to his voice — is not wasted, but wisely invested time. It is essential for the effectiveness of my personal life and ministry.”

Having said that, I think it is a terrible mistake for a Christian to focus on Spiritual disciplines like Bible reading, prayer, worship , AND FASTING and neglect the issues of practical Christianity like “social justice” and compassionate concern for the essential needs of others!!  In fact I just read about in the Bible this morning…

“‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.  Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.  Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?  

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?  Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?  Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.  Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.“ (Isaiah 58:3–9a NIV)

So, here’s the deal for me… I want to be faithful in the Spiritual disciplines the sustain my personal spiritual life, BUT I NEVER WANT TO IGNORE THE PRACTICAL EXPRESSION OF MY FAITH IN GOD by neglecting issues of “social justice” and “compassion ministries”!  I WANT A FULL HEART TO PLAY ITSELF OUT IN A GENEROUS AND LOVING LIFE… Don’t you?!

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