I seek the discipline to maintain my submission - mind, soul, and body - to the Holy Spirit. I actively and intentionally participate in a great many behaviors in which I engage my God in Spirit and in Truth; and I am here to tell you that doing so in nothing special. In fact, it is what we are supposed to be doing - and since God knows who He is dealing with when He seeks to engage us, it can not be that difficult
Spiritual disciplines [are] for dummies... (by necessity)
I have been exploring Spiritual disciplines over the past couple of years and have tried to be led into the ones for which I am most inclined. The first discipline that I am very intentional about is prayer. I have been practicing the discipline of not only taking times throughout the day for intentional prayer but praying breath prayers and/or sublime repetitions throughout my waking hours. I seem to have ability for this and not only that, I enjoy it very much. It is a great deal of fun and promotes a dialogue in my head and heart that continues moment by moment.
I have also just in the past year begun regular, daily readings (or listenings) of the Bible. I am following a plan that I discovered on the You Version Bible app. I am very auditory and have found listening to be the way in which I can be more consistent because I can listen wherever and whenever I am – especially when I am exercising. I also try to receive a teaching on the course of a day. That teaching may come through a text that I am reading or a teacher on the local Christian radio station, or even through a text that I am reading with the students at school. I have found this very enjoyable and it keeps me from closing my bubble too tightly around me.
I teach journaling but have found that I am not a disciplined journaler. I memorize scripture along with my students at school and I enjoy that challenge, but I do not do it on my own.
It is through these developing disciplines that I maintain my “balance.” Being intentional like this serves the dual purpose of maintaining balance and acting as a measure of balance. What I mean is that as I have developed specific disciplines throughout the day, if I do not perform them, that becomes a clear indicator that I am “out of balance.” As a perfect example, my phone just reminded me that I am now two days behind on my Bible listening plan. Even though I have been working, teaching, and reading like a mad man I have found that no matter what else I am doing, I am blessed by staying in the Word and focused on God. Do I know when I am out of whack and I try to get back in whack, even if it means putting down a book ABOUT the Bible and picking up the Good Book itself. I have said for several years that the biggest problem with seminary is that it takes you out of the Word.
I really do not like phrases that describe God as “showing up,” “showing up and showing off,” “let go and let God,” and the like. The teaching that I adhere to is that as we submit, God indwells and part of the deal is that we have simple faith that regardless of what is happening (or not) in your life – God is still there doing what He does, exactly how He does it. I am not being snotty here; I really believe this and stay away from such language in describing God and His behavior. It is a matter of theology; and it is a matter of my natural aversion to “bumper sticker Christianity.”
Now, that being said, I love, love, love, it when God demonstrates His sovereignty without question – especially when He steps in a battle and just kicks the devil’s rear right in front of me. I’m always like, “thanks – I appreciate that.” I just think it’s cool to see – and one sees such things when his or her spiritual eyes are opened to the Kingdom that surrounds them.
Lastly, God speaks to me through two primary, and seemingly opposing, avenues. God speaks through my mind. I could write a book about this as it relates to my life and my walk, but let it be known that God infiltrates my mind and dispenses the knowledge that I am to have. I incorporate it, digest it, and assimilate it – sometimes sooner and sometimes later – in my life. The other avenue is through people. Like many who share my position in life, God uses my children and my wife to not only speak, but to act, in my life. Again, the stories are numerous and almost daily; and again, a person sees and hears God when his or her eyes are opened by the Spirit to the Spirit.