Spiritual disciplines was the topic of the first community group I ever attended. Every week we read a chapter out of The Spiritual Disciplines by Richard Foster. We would talk about that week’s discipline a group and then endeavor to practice it over the following week.
I’m sorry to say I’ve never been any good at carrying out spiritual disciplines for any period of time. This is a heart problem.
Today I visited a church where the pastor preaches from John 15 about disciples of Christ bearing fruit. “We all want fruit, don’t we?” said the pastor, rhetorically. Wanting fruit, bearing fruit, lacking fruit, pruning fruit … I heard all about fruit but never why I should want it, seek it or work towards it.
I don’t want fruit. I want Christ.
The closer I grow to Christ the more fruit I will naturally bear because I will become more like him through his love working in my heart through the Holy Spirit.
I don’t want spiritual disciplines. I want to be closer to Christ.
The love of Christ must draw my heart to fast, pray, read my Bible, tithe, and so on. Surely, the spiritual disciplines will help me grow closer to Christ but only to the extent that I seek Christ and not the mere action.
I remember during that community group we read about humility. The author writes that one way to practice the spiritual discipline of humility is to not try to seem like you know more about a subject than you do. We are humble by not trying to appear greater or better in the eyes of others than we are. I still remember that. I still try to practice that.
My boyfriend and I are going to read through the historical books of the Bible together. It’s a good discipline to read Scripture; I hope reading it with someone else will enrich the experience. I have to remind myself to desire closeness with Christ and not merely the box-checking, “to do” item crossing-off reward of finishing a task.