Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Spiritual disciplines/ formation Pt. 2

May be you are a lot like me, in that I struggle at giving Jesus the time I need to become more like him? I mean real, devoted, honest, unobstructed time for me to pray, listen, read and meditate/ think on scripture? How do I make the most of this time? When I only give him part of my attention, or part of my focus, then I rarely get that much out of it. Do you struggle with getting everything you can out of scripture when you read it? Do you struggle with prayer time? May be you are asking yourself if this is really helping?

Yesterday was a really good day for me. I spent a ton of time in the morning praying through and meditating on Galatians 5:16- 26.

I want to take you through the different portions of this scripture... to show you how I used this passage of scripture as part of my spiritual disciplines to help mold me and make me more like Jesus. Here is the first part of the scripture: Galatians 5:16- 18.
"So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law."

As you I read through the scripture, it got me to thinking about the ways that I try to gratify my own sinful nature... my sinful desires. It forced me to think and reflect on any sin that may be in my life. It helped me to realize that my own personal desires wants what is contrary to the Spirit. When doing this time of scripture meditation, we have to realize, understand and deal with the fact that we do have a sinful nature. Anytime that we want what is different than scripture... this is our sinful nature. Our sinful nature wants what is different than the Holy Spirit desires for us and it is a conflict that is inside all Christ followers. The battle between us doing right and the conflict between us doing wrong. I don't know about you, but I know the battle that I have at times whether it be as a husband, as a dad, as a pastor, as a human being been caught in this war between my own desires and the desires of the Holy Spirit living in me.

This type of internalized thinking about our sinful nature and desires shows how we are to take scripture and apply it to our own lives. If we try to get ourselves to think and believe that we do not have a sinful nature, then we are fooling and lying to ourselves. This excercise, forces us to filter our own lives through scripture and it may be hard... but we need to look at our own lives through the lens of a microscope [aka scripture] for us to see where we need to grow.

You see, by taking a scripture and unpacking it like this, this forces us to pray to God for revelation, it forces us to listen to God for Him to speak to us [whether through scripture or that small still voice]... it forces us to meditate and think about the scripture in the light [or darkness] of our own lives. Through these spiritual disciplines, it forms us and pushes us closer to Christ. It pushes us closer to understand that we need grace. It pushes us to become more like Jesus.

In my next part of this blog post, I am going to breakdown Galatians 5:19- 21.

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