Create Some Space

Undisciplined lives are lives poorly lived.

It’s not that every moment must be scripted and every minute accounted for. Nor do I advocate that “down time” means “wasted time.” But we live in an age and a culture that demands the freedom “to do what I want, when I want, where I want, and with whom I want.” Such self-centeredness and ill-discipline destroys everything in its path.

It’s little wonder, then, that the spiritual disciplines have fallen from favor…and practice.

Some well-meaning but misguided folk declare that we are free from such legalism. “Grace delivers us from these bonds of the past. We no longer have such duties and obligations.” That’s true. However, it too quickly dismisses the value of the disciplines. They’re not about the Lord holding us in check, but us creating spaces for Him. Spiritual disciplines are not a duty but an opportunity.

Some of the classic spiritual disciplines include prayer, fasting, simplicity, silence, solitude, community, confession, study, service, and giving—done specifically to open our hearts to God.

Do these disciplines define our lives?

Early in Christian history, Pelagius suggested that we should earn God’s favor with our efforts. The church roundly condemned him, and rightly so. And herein lies a danger of the spiritual disciplines. We may grow to think that if we practice a spiritual discipline it will obligate Christ to respond in some way.

“If I just pray harder, God will answer. He must answer. If I fast, God will know how serious I am, and my actions will stir Him to action. If I give sacrificially, God will give it back—surely—and with interest.” Such thinking echoes the 4th-5th century heresy. We presume to take the initiative and expect God to always react.

But spiritual disciplines function merely as doors and windows for the soul; openings through which God may meet us and we may encounter Him. The disciplines merely provide a mechanism to enhance our sensitivity to the Presence of Christ among us and within us. He has already taken the initiative and we respond to Him.

How disciplined are we? How much space have you created for God lately?

Undisciplined lives are lives poorly lived.

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6 Responses to Create Some Space

  1. Tim Ross says:

    I have learned so much from the disciplines and have heard God’s voice so much more through practice of them. How can we make ourselves more available to the Holy Spirit? Through practicing these disciplines we open the doors and windows and allow the Holy Spirit into our soul. Thank you for helping us to see how opening these portals will allow Jesus in so we can live the abundant life.

  2. erinambrose says:

    Beautifully stated David. Thank you for the wonderful reminder. The disciplines merely provide the space for me to meet with the Lord and feel his presence. He was waiting for me all along.

    • David Timms says:

      Erin, thanks for the needed reminder. The disciplines are not our effort to get God’s attention but our commitment to give Him ours. I love your line — “He was waiting for me all along.”

  3. Phil McKinley says:

    I believe in Ephesians 4 it says that we were created to be like God. We, however, use our freedom to become intertwined with the world. Because we were created repetitive creatures, the more we repeat our interaction with worldly things, the more we desire them. That’s where dependency and addiction comes from. Imagine if we became addicted to God. What would that be like? Heaven? I think we can make a concious effort, through the disciplines, to make that happen. More and more of God is that which we should crave.

  4. David Stanford says:

    Yes the disciplines really help me to shut the door on all the noise and furore around me so I hear and experience the reality and presence of God who is right there, very close. bless you David

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