REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Barry Kang who heads Symphony Church in Boston, is an updated version of his blog first posted on April 13, 2013. He is a graduate of Stanford University (BA), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min.).
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
Last weekend, I introduced the concept of training for Christ-likeness vs. trying to be Christ-like. The traditional name for this idea of training is “spiritual disciplines”. I remember one Christmas many years ago, I received Dallas Willard’s The Spirit of the Disciplines AND Richard Foster’s The Celebration of Discipline as Christmas presents. Clearly, someone was trying to tell me something!
The problem with “Spiritual Disciplines” of course, is that just by hearing the title, we don’t want to do it! There is also the very real potential for pride and legalism. So before we continue in our discussion of spiritual disciplines, let me share some thoughts on what spiritual disciplines DON’T do.
- The practice of spiritual disciplines doesn’t save us. Only the grace of Jesus Christ on the cross saves us from our sins. We cannot earn our salvation.
- The practice of spiritual disciplines doesn’t make us holy. I remember when I first began practicing the discipline of fasting, some friends thought that made me very holy, but I knew better. Fasting made me more aware of my un-holiness!
So what do spiritual disciplines do for us? Spiritual disciplines are a way for us to “work out our salvation”. This doesn’t mean that we are contributing to our salvation, rather we are working out the effects or implications of our salvation. Put another way, spiritual disciplines done with the right heart, are our ways of opening our hearts, minds and bodies to “God who works within us to act and will according to his will.” Spiritual disciplines aren’t a human-centric way to achieve sanctification. Rather they are the ways we focus on making our lives God-centric so that we don’t hinder his work within us.
Prayer: Father, I thank You that You forgive my sins anew every morning. I thank You that the blood of Jesus covers every one of my sins. Help me to discipline myself so that my life can reflect Your love and holiness in this world full of darkness. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Corinthians 14-15