“The aim and substance of spiritual life is not fasting, prayer, hymn singing, frugal living, and so forth. Rather, it is the effective and full enjoyment of active love of God and humankind in all the daily rounds of normal existence where we are placed. …People who think that they are spiritually superior because they make practice of a discipline such as fasting or silence or frugality are entirely missing the point. The need for extensive practice of a given discipline is an indication of our weakness, not our strength.” Dallas Willard
“The Rabbi [Jesus] implores, ‘Don’t you understand that discipleship is not about being right or being perfect or being efficient? It’s all about the way you live with each other.’ In every encounter we either give life or we drain it. There is no neutral exchange. We enhance human dignity, or we diminish it. The success or failure of a given day is measured by the quality of our interest and compassion toward those around us. We define ourselves by our response to human need. …We reveal our heart in the way we listen to a child, speak to the person who delivers mail, bear an injury, and share our resources with the indignant.” Brennan Manning
“We do not go into the desert to escape people but to learn how to find them; we do not leave them in order to have nothing more to do with them but to find out the way to do them the most good.” Thomas Merton
“…love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:10
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Are you aware of weaknesses in your life and your need for “help to do what you cannot do now by willpower alone?” (John Ortberg’s definition of spiritual disciplines) Are you practicing some disciplines for that reason?
- Do you measure the success of your day by “compassion [demonstrated] toward those around you” rather than by faithfulness in the disciplines?
- Rejecting the practice of spiritual disciplines could be evidence of pride, and serious practice of them could be a source of pride. In the next days, take some time to consider this before the Lord.
Abba, help me to do what I cannot do by willpower alone as I embrace life-giving rhythms and practices.
For More: The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”