I was thinking about the devotional for the week after some Sunday School discussions. They were talking about the security of the Christian in one’s faith and eternal destination. Whether Armenian or Calvinist, the agreement is this that you cannot earn salvation nor will God take your salvation from you. Another thing that came out of it is that we are in a continual state of growth toward maturity in our faith. As a result, I would like to focus on ways that we can grow in our faith and be assured that God is always with us.
The Spiritual Formation classes I took in Bible school taught spiritual disciplines as part of the curriculum. Spiritual disciplines are not a way to salvation or a means to keep our salvation; rather, it is posturing one’s self before God to be molded more into His image as a result of intimacy with God. John 15:5 says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me will bear much fruit, for without me, you can do nothing.” Abiding: living, dwelling, making one’s home in God. I think of the hymn “In the Garden” by C. Austin Mills that illustrates an intimate meeting with the Lord. “I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses. And the voice I hear, falling on my ear the Son of God discloses, and He walks with me and He talks with me and tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.” Going with the intent to meet with the Lord alone, to enjoy an intimate relationship with Him is beyond what we can normally comprehend.
Place yourself intentionally to meet with Him listening, to talk with Him, to be changed by Him. That is what spiritual disciplines are about. It is not earning one’s salvation nor is it doing something to keep one’s salvation. To do such is to be like the Pharisees whom Jesus called “whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones” Matthew 23:27. It is simply growing closer and closer to Jesus and in doing so, we might reflect more of Him in our lives. The Spiritual Disciplines in Richard Foster’s book "Celebration of Discipline" are: meditation, prayer, fasting, study, simplicity, solitude, submission, service, confession, worship, guidance and celebration. I am prayerfully considering which ones to highlight each week in this series. The challenge for you is to give each one a try. Prayerfully open yourself up to God asking Him to meet with you in each one. Take your time. You don’t have to do one a week. Take as long as you wish. The only exception is fasting which will have a detailed explanation in that segment since it is a rather misunderstood discipline. If you want, pick up a copy of Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline. I will also attempt to provide links online as appropriate for further reading.
May God bless you in your quest to grow more deeply with Him.