The Creator designed us for abundant, joyous life. Confusion over freedom often obscures that design. In the name of freedom, we wander onto paths that rob our joy and destroy lives. We cannot have harmony in our spirit, soul and body in the midst of chaos.
Christ set us free from the bonds of captivity, but true freedom involves limits. The absence of boundaries creates anarchy which stirs up chaos that prohibits choice. A state of anarchy produces reactive living, not abundant freedom. It requires a disciplined pursuit of truth to learn the boundaries of freedom in Christ–and open the door to enjoyment of the abundance God provides.
Spiritual disciplines aid in exploration and movement into freedom. Do not confuse discipline with legalistic structure or religious tradition. “Should do” lists easily become tools of the devil. Disciplines aim to link our hearts to the Father. Just as a budget or schedule helps us focus on established goals, spiritual disciplines assist us in reaching the heights of God’s design.
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
A structure for growth is the opposite of captivity. It is a structure that provides freedom to run on the path that leads to God. Scripture, prayer and obedience are key components of an abundant life. Like any relationship, a relationship with God takes an investment of time and a desire to connect. Let’s explore what the basic spiritual disciplines look like:
Scheduled time in the Word. It is a simple fact: those things we do not schedule, typically do not happen. Just as the world sat in chaos prior to the Word of God, our lives exist in chaos without the Word. Regular time in the Word is the only way to understand what abundant life looks like. There is a way that seems right to man but it is the way of death. Scripture shows us the right way–the path to fullness. Set aside a small piece of time–even ten minutes and watch how God will use your time tithe! Baby steps are all we need to start.
Honest conversation with our loving Father. Prayer is not rote repetition; it is heart-engaged, will-surrendered fellowship with the Father. A key to hearing God is quieting the mind. Our natural mind is continually active; thoughts are real things. They produce chemical responses within our body and must not be allowed free reign. Thoughts rooted in faith bring health; thoughts oozing unbelief create disruption. Prayerful communion with God clears the trash and keeps the path to God open. Prayer is simply focused time to look at the face of God–and to listen to His heart.
Faithfully walking out His plan. Finally, we must practice disciplined obedience to what God says and shows us as we read His Word and listen to His heart. Knowing the Word without doing the Word may be more dangerous than not seeking Him in the first place. The moment we step forward on faith, God reveals new dynamics to believing on Him. The abundant life is one of joyous adventure. It is an exciting journey enhanced by boundaries.
What spiritual discipline do you want to strengthen in your life?