Thursday, January 6, 2011

spiritual disciplines

Last night Jared began winter Cross Walk teaching times with an introduction to spiritual disciplines.  We will be talking and practicing a number of disciplines this quarter.  I look forward to learning with you all!

Jared mentioned that we should think of the disciplines (which he will enumerate in talks to come) as tools in our tool box that enable us to put ourselves before God--to grow in relationship with Him.  I like that.

I've also always appreciated the image of God as a potter.  There's a wonderful account in Jeremiah chapter 18 of God telling Jeremiah to go to the potter's house and watch it is:
1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

5 Then the word of the LORD came to me. 6 He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.
While this text is ultimately about judgment, the image of God being a potter stands.  God is able to shape us, make us into whatever he desires.  He is also able to reshape us when we become marred in His hands. 

What has this got to do with spiritual disciplines?  Think of the spiritual disciplines as ongoing practices that enable us to climb up on the potter's wheel so that the Master Potter might shape us into the vessel He desires us to be.  Don't think of prayer as a way of getting what you want or becoming a better person.  Rather think of it as a way of putting yourself in God's way, on the wheel, under His hands so that He might form you and shape you into a beautiful vessel of His choosing.  God's greatest work is done on surrendered hearts.  All the classic spiritual disciplines do this very same thing.  They all put us on God's potter's wheel so that He can do His amazing work in us.  Let's put ourselves on His wheel, in His path so that He can have free access to us to mold us into the image of His Son, Jesus.

I'm interested in what stories you have.  How has God used the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible reading/study, fasting, service, worship, journaling, etc., in your life to mold you?

1 comment:

  1. What a timely post...

    Having been frustrated for many years by what Dallas Willard calls the 'gospel of sin management', I'm wading into the world of spiritual disciplines--one foot at a time. I guess you could say that I'm a recovering legalist who feels that there has GOT to be more to faith than eternal fire insurance and the occasional warm/fuzzy. The way I see it is this...if God is a father then he's got to be the best father--much better than me. I want a close relationship with my children, so how much more would He want one with me as a child of His.

    But in a world where everyone has an iPod, it's hard to hear God. He's there, but you have to be interested enough to practice being still.

    Do any of us 'really' have the patience to know God? Enough to be transformed?