Often, people think of “study” as dry, boring, and tedious. But that’s not the flavor that we find in 2 Timothy 2:15. What we find there is passion, desire, and even desperation. Study is a classic spiritual discipline. Study calls us to the passionate pursuit of God and his word – so that we might be transformed into the people that he created us to be.
Few aspects of our faith are more familiar than worship. At the same time, we struggle to understand the depth and meaning of this central expression of our response to God. In simplest terms, worship declares that God is worthy of adoration, praise, and reverence.
This spiritual practice called prayer is so mysterious. Scriptures tells us in many cases how to pray, and yet, we’re not quite sure exactly how prayer happens, or how it works, or what the result is. But we can be sure that when we pray, we need to begin with an absolutely humble attitude.
Every one of us will fill our mind and our heart . . . with something. Whether we mean to or not – whether we intend to or not – we will find something to dwell on, think about, and ponder. Meditation on God and his ways leads to transformation, repentance, and obedience. More than that, meditation also allows us to enter into the presence of the Living God – and in his presence – to sense and hear and know his voice. And if we do this, we will be changed.
The central meaning of submission is giving in to God – and doing that with joy and trust and eagerness. Submission is what we see in Mary’s response to the angel in Luke 1:38 and it is what we see in Jesus’ conversation with the Father in Luke 22:40-46.
Often, the idea of being alone can be intimidating or even frightening. Even more, we may feel that, given the noise and busyness of our world, solitude would be impossible. Even so, God’s people for centuries have cherished the discipline that opens the door for rest, quiet, relief, and time with God.
Simplicity is the spiritual practice that calls us to a singleness of focus. One purpose, one goal, one heart.There’s something inside of us that hungers for simplicity. Through practicing simplicity, we experience spiritual transformation and growth.
We might think that fasting is essentially choosing to go without food for a spiritual purpose, and that’s part of what’s happening, but more important than simply choosing to go without food, is deciding where exactly we’re going to put our focus and what things in life are most important to us.
We know all about serving, but often we don’t take the next step, and actually serve. We have to get up, and we have to take steps, and we have to move in a certain direction. Paul knows that the Christian life that we talk so much about won’t happen automatically, or magically. This is the spiritual practice of serving: doing what we can do to meet the needs of other people.