Spiritual disciplines are essential to your walk with God.
Physical fitness requires physical exercise. Spiritual fitness requires spiritual exercise. Spiritual disciplines are training for a close walk with Jesus.
Warning: You may be neglecting the most important spiritual discipline.
People have produced a variety of lists of spiritual disciplines over the years as they have studied the bible and examined the life of Jesus. The most familiar spiritual disciplines would be prayer, study, fasting, sacrifice, worship, fellowship and service. Other spiritual disciplines would include practices like frugality, secrecy, celebration, confession and submission.
However, the most important spiritual discipline is the one most endangered in our modern world.
Do you have much of that in your life? How is that going?
Everything in our modern world fights against the idea of quiet solitude and it may be killing your spiritual life. Our world values busyness. Our world demands that you be plugged in and available at all times through smartphones, tablets and social media. Our world throws content at us 24 hrs a day through the internet and hundreds of TV channels.
We are plugged in to everyone except God. We know what some guy is doing that we haven’t seen since high school, but we have no idea what God is up to.
Quiet Solitude is hard to come by.
The research here finds that the average smartphone user checks their phone 221 times per day. That is once every 4.3 minutes during waking hours. Wow!
To do anything 221 times per day is pretty amazing. Every minute you give to one thing pushes out another thing. What is your phone pushing out of your life?
Don’t misunderstand me. This is not a diatribe against smartphones or technology. I am not abandoning my Iphone or going off the grid anytime soon. It simply highlights the fact that if we want to be close to God, we must be more intentional about it than any other time in history. You check your phone in the morning and a hundred rabbit trails of curiosity pop up. Who or what will you give your time to…your life to?
The Psalmist said “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
You cannot be close to God in the midst of busyness and noise.
Most of our lives are filled up with too much of both.
Quiet Solitude creates space in your soul. It fabricates an opportunity for you to hear from God. It gives you the chance to take some personal inventory. Quiet Solitude nourishes you.
I cherish mornings on the porch of our log home. I love to watch the sun rise over the red pines to the east and begin to shine on the pines to the west. I enjoy the sound of morning doves calling from the woods and the honks of geese flying overhead. I relish the feel of a gentle breeze and the smell of the morning air. It is a pure delight.
Sometimes, the legalist in me wants to hurry into bible study or prayer. Get something done. Get it checked off the good Christian list. One thing I’ve learned is to linger in those moments. Quiet solitude is beneficial all by itself. It fills me up. And then…when the time seems right…I’ll let that solitude serve as a foundation for connecting with God in his word and in prayer.
Well before we became chained to our phones and people demanded our constant availability, Dallas Willard wrote these words that are even more true now:
“Solitude frees us, actually. This above all explains its primacy and priority among the disciplines. The normal course of day-to-day human interactions locks us into patterns of feeling, thought, and action that are geared to a world set against God. Nothing but solitude can allow the development of a freedom from the ingrained behaviors that hinder our integration into God’s order.” The Spirit of the Disciplines, Dallas Willard
Don’t be a slave to all the demands on your time and attention. Find your porch. Find a place to walk, a quiet room with a comfortable chair, or a stool in the barn. Find quiet solitude. We often agree to the lie that we have no choice in regard to our busy life and schedule and expectations. That is not true. You decide what you let into your life and you decide what you push out.
Let God in. Practice the spiritual discipline of quiet solitude.
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16
There is a lot on the site about spiritual disciplines. Here are a few spots to get you started here , here and here. And don’t forget to sign up to follow the blog through e-mail. You will automatically receive every post and receive a free guide called 15 Reasons that Godliness is Worth It. You will find lots of great motivation to follow Jesus.