Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Pursuing God in Spiritual Disciplines

During our Sunday worship gatherings, we have been studying the book of 1 John together. We have noticed that fellowship with God is the goal of the gospel that John proclaimed, and we have noticed that sin is what prevents fellowship with God. I have found myself convicted about not taking sin in my life with enough seriousness and gravity, and wonder how much I assume that I am in fellowship with God.

So, along with a friend of mine at Crosstown, we came up with a plan to fight against sin and to fight for fellowship with God. We decided that if we really believed that fellowship with God was worth fighting for, we could not take too lightly our struggle with some of the spiritual disciples (namely, Scripture reading, memory, meditation and prayer). The early church met for encouragement and exhortation every day (Acts 2:46). Why couldn't we meet together every day?

I don't mean actually see each other every day, but we could meet on the telephone easily enough. We could ask each other if we had been in the word and in prayer that day. So that's what we have done for the past two weeks. Every day one of us calls the other and we ask each other about these spiritual disciplines.

The result? Well, neither of us has missed a day of devotion the past two weeks. I am quite sure I would have missed at least a couple of days if it hadn't been for the daily accountability. We know that there is much more to the Christian life than this, but we figured we should start somewhere. Our study of 1 John has already convinced us that we dare not assume anything about our fellowship with God. We must fight for it. And God has been gracious to help us in our perseverance.

At Crosstown we value Intentional Spiritual Formation. We like to say that we value church growth--that is that every believer demonstrates genuine Christlikeness. Our goal is to see Christ formed in one another. For too long many of us have only passively participated in our sanctification. And I'm afraid the church has become anything but a place where authentic exhortation of one another is happening. Consider these words from Hebrews 3:12-14:

"Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end."

So why not team up with another believer and exhort one another every day in the spiritual disciplines?


Grace Mally said...

Hey, I don't actually know you and I just came across your blog by accident...but I wanted to mention that this post blessed me tonight. Great thoughts. Thanks and God bless!

BCJ said...

Grace, thanks for your kind words and encouragement. I guess that's one cool thing about the internet, stumbling upon things that God uses to bless you! It's also cool to remember that with God there are no accidents! Anyway, thanks for stopping by.