Posts Tagged ‘Spiritual’

nuclear-icebreakerRemember icebreakers? You know, the silly ‘get to know you’ exercises at social functions? I do. At one particular gathering I remember the icebreaker quite well. We were asked, “Whom would we like to meet from a previous era of history?” After two or three of the ‘super-spiritual’ people answered ‘Jesus,’ a qualification was established that everyone wants to meet Jesus, but who else do you want to meet. I mean, if we are Christians, don’t we already know Jesus? And isn’t the Jesus we want to meet waiting for us in heaven? And aren’t we in a personal relationship with him?

I digress… where was I?

O yes, whom do we want to meet? In the little group exercise we definitely broke the ice, but it didn’t help the group learn anything about each other. What we learned was how others wanted to be viewed, which seems to pass right over the heads of a bunch of college students; at least it did my case.

Take me for example, I said I want to meet Admiral Byrd, the semi-famous explorer, known for his feats of exploration in the early 1900’s, who may or may not be in my family tree… Yeah, no one knew who he was either, but if I couldn’t pick Jesus I was going to go for someone impressive. My intent was to achieve the persona of cool; but I’ve since learned no one was impressed, and coming up with an obscure person only made me look like a dweeb.

Anyway, since then I’ve given thought to this little question, ‘whom do I want to meet.’ I know Jesus, and I’m growing in that relationship everyday. One day I will be with him in glory, but if I could meet anyone from ages past who would it be? I would like to meet Adoniram Judson. Another obscure person, I know, but I’m not trying to be cool in front of the ladies. For numerous reasons, important reasons, I want to meet this great man.

Judson seemed to possess indestructible resilience. He was infused with God’s Spirit and truth, fortifying him in an exceedingly difficult ministry. This man possessed what I do not seem to be able to grasp. Now, don’t get me wrong—he was not superman. However, he did prove to be particularly tough and devoted to his missionary work. Judson, in my estimation, was like the apostle Paul. He understood how weak he was and clung to the only source of strength and resolve.

In the end, I want to meet him because in the midst of gut wrenching adversity he fought the good fight of the faith. Over the next few posts, I’m going to explore some of the things that characterized Judson, his ministry, and his life. I want to better understand this man who was so mightily used by God, for the glory of God.

Years ago I read a book by Don Whitney called the Spiritual Disciplines. This book was given to me through the church I was attending–it was awesome to say the least. The book was not terribly engaging from a reading standpoint, but the content was excellent.

This book introduced to me for the first time the idea of exercising spiritual discipline. Discipline in diet, exercise, along with other areas was not foreign to me. The concept of being spiritually disciplined seemed to remove some of the mystical ideas I possessed regarding the Christian life. The removal of these ideas was good, as pursuit of Jesus is not simply jumping from one mystical and emotional experience to another. Following Jesus Christ is supernatural and it is to be a daily experience through the Word, prayer, and fellowship with the saints, while seeking to do His will. Through the spiritual disciplines my heart became focused upon Jesus and the glorious grace of God like never before.

Essentially, spiritual disciplines are the disciplined routine of reading Scripture, studying Scripture, praying and journaling all in an effort to seek God; just to name a few. (If you want a more thorough treatment of the topic I suggest purchasing and reading Whitney’s book). However, with the praise of discipline comes the pitfalls of discipline. Cultivation of sterile and heartless devotion whereby one thinks they are close with God because of their disciplined life can be a result. I must admit I have fallen into that sterile routine at times.

So, do we then abandon the spiritual disciplines? May it never be. If I have abandoned the mystical-spiritual-experiential side of things, because they are a trapping, then why not abandon the trappings of discipline? First, let me note that I have not abandon seeking to experience God in supernatural ways. In all of these things, mystical experience and spiritual discipline, it must be remembered that they are to be held in proper relationship to the Word of God. I do not abandon the supernatural experience with my Savior, but I seek to have it defined through what He has revealed, rather than what I presuppose or even have culturally absorbed. I also do not abandon the spiritual disciplines because of my cold-heart. The problem with spiritual disciplines, the same as for seeking to experience the mystical, is the heart of man in relation to these things and not the instruments themselves. My problem is me and not discipline.

Scripture is replete with ideas that require an active daily pursuit of the things of God, (i.e. spiritual disciplines). Do not be lax in the things of God, but if you hear his voice do not harden your hearts. Seek God why it is still today. Listen to the voice of God while it is speaking loudly. Where do we hear his voice most clearly? In the Bible. Those who are followers of Christ must actively consider Jesus, keeping their eyes upon Him alone, listening to and obeying His Word, (cf. Heb 3). Brothers, those who share in the heavenly calling, discipline your hearts in prayer, in the Word, in fellowship. When your heart grows cold, do the hard work of heart work and repent for the forgiveness of sin.