I’m glad you’re sitting down because we need to talk. You’re gettin’ kinda lazy. I see you letting that beach body slip away… slacking on those healthy habits. I get it. Fall is starting to creep into your brain. You think, “Eh, long pants means no one’s gonna see all this leg hair.” And everyone knows that fall is made for that favorite pair of pants with the stretchy waistband.
As a society, we are kind of getting lax on physical disciplines. And well, you see, I was never really a fan of the word, “discipline” in the first place, so I just decided to skip all of that stuff anyway. When I was a kid, “discipline” meant running around the house attempting to evade my dad with a wooden spoon. Discipline was never something that I thought was “good” for me, despite the insistence from my mother that my dad disciplines me because he loves me.
I’m guessing that I’m not the only one who isn’t a fan of the word “discipline.”
It just evokes so much tension and anxiety. It makes you think of all the things that you aren’t doing right, and of what you need to change. Or maybe you think of all the good habits that you gave up on. Or maybe of how it was twisted into a reason to be abusive. And I think that, unfortunately, those of us who stand up here to speak are often the culprits. We unintentionally turn spiritual disciplines into a guilt inducing list of things to do. But that’s not how it should be. These aren’t supposed to feel oppressive but rather uplifting.
I want to present you with the idea that discipline, and especially spiritual discipline, isn’t bad. It’s not meant to be a guilt trip or to make you feel inadequate. If we reframe or adjust our view and understanding of it, then we can see it as an opportunity for growth. It can be something we want to do, because the rewards on the other end vastly outweigh the effort that we put in now. Since you are all here on a Sunday morning, I am going to assume that you want to grow in your relationship with God, and practicing spiritual disciplines is one way that we can.
What’s more is that we aren’t doing all the work to get to God.
We are not earning his favor or presence. We are merely opening ourselves up to God. you see, God is just waiting for you to allow Him to work. These spiritual disciplines are a way to create space in us for God to inhabit, for him to pour out his love and purpose into.