I’m a big fan of practicing the spiritual disciplines (though I myself consistently falter in each of them). It’s vital for believers to read, study, meditate, and memorize Scripture. Communion with God through prayer and worship is also essential. However, we do well to remember the purpose of spiritual disciplines.
Brian Hedges writes that “the disciplines are meant to turn us into missionaries, not monks. The disciplines start in the closet, but end in the street. True Christlikeness is measured not by the breadth of your knowledge or the length of your prayers, but the depth of your love for others.”
“Christians feed on Scripture,” writes Eugene Peterson. But “Christians don’t simply learn or study or use Scripture; we assimilate it, take it into our lives in such a way that it gets metabolized into acts of love, cups of cold water, missions into all the world, healing and evangelism and justice in Jesus’ name, hands raised in adoration of the Father, feet washed in company with the Son.”
Similarly, Tim Chester and Steve Timmis write, “Biblical spirituality does not take place in silence; it takes place bearing a cross. It is not a spirituality of withdrawal but a spirituality of engagement. You do not practice it on a retreat in a secluded house; you practice it on the streets in the midst of broken lives.”
Paul writes: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Spiritual disciplines are not an end in themselves. They are designed for God to transform us in living lives of love, humility, obedience, and sacrifice in a world of pain.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:10). Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Eph. 5:1-2).