Spiritual Disciplines

Colossians 3:16
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
In order to get strong and get healthy, many of us have signed up to be members of a gym. We imagine ourselves with a better physique, more stamina, and overall improved quality of life. We desire the good consequences of working out, but in order to achieve those results we must endure the pain of discipline. We learn that in order to work out, we have to make time to work out. And even when we prioritize time to work out, the workouts are hard and lead to us being sore (sometimes sore for days). Workouts are meant to be… work. Very similarly with spiritual disciplines, we have a deep desire to get closer with the Lord and a more blessed and fulfilled life, but it comes at the cost of needing to work out our spiritual disciplines.
                Going to the gym can also be intimidating. At least at my gym, everyone seems to be in much better shape than I am which sometimes makes me feel discouraged. But I don’t go to the gym to look at other people. I don’t go to the gym to make sure that other people are doing the correct exercises or that others are following a certain training regimen. I go to the gym to work out. Very similarly with spiritual disciplines, I don’t come to church to look at people, but I go to church to draw nearer to God with all my heart, mind, and strength. The church is not a mausoleum of saints, but a place for the saints to work out their faith.
                The gym can also be daunting because there are an endless number of exercises that you can partake in to get into better shape. Sometimes when it feels daunting and overwhelming, the best route is to sign up for a class in which the focus is to corporately work out together. Very similarly with spiritual disciples, church is helpful in our spiritual walks because we train in the Word of God together “teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom.” And the way in which we do this is through praising and thankfulness to God. All spiritual disciplines (although they might look different from one another and there are a multitude of kinds) have the goal of drawing us near to God through the Word of Christ.
                But the church is not a gym. The church is a family. Yes, the church strives for spiritual growth and spiritual discipline. Yes, the church strives for teaching of the Word and admonishing in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness to God in our hearts. And yet, the church is a family in which we are adopted by the power of God and the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. The church can look an awful lot like a place for holy people to get even holier, but in fact it is a home in which children are learning to trust God more and more each day. Spiritual disciplines are the ways in which we learn to trust God a little more today.

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