- There is a gap between what we are called to be and what we too often settle for.
- There is usually not some divine ZAP from on high that turns us into mature disciples; rather, we have a role to play in preparing the soil for God to grow his holiness in us.
- Most of our churches have not done that great at Jesus's last injunction in the Great Commission: Teach them to obey all that I have commanded.
- We can't expect to do what Jesus did unless we train like Jesus did.
OK, today's installment: A discipline is any activity I can force myself to do that brings about in me a disposition I can't just force myself to adopt.
This is a general definition that does not pertain only to spiritual disciplines. These, however, are more easily seen as a type of the more general group. Again, examples about from the world of sport. Athletes like to talk about muscle memory. They do a particular task over and over and over again, until it becomes the natural thing for their bodies to do. Or consider musicians playing scales on the piano or the guitar. It takes lots of (tedious) work to get your fingers to do that naturally. But then once the flesh has been formed, it does it naturally. That is, it is disposed to react in a certain way in a given set of circumstances.
The spiritual application becomes clear. Spiritual disciplines train our flesh (in the biblical sense) to respond in certain ways. Then our automatic or natural responses can become positive and life-giving, rather than life-sucking.