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Spiritual Disciplines - Part 2

July 19th, 2005 | 2 min read

By Andrew Selby

My wife, Malea, is an excellent writer and thinker. She has spent much time contemplating and practicing the disciplines and here is what she thinks about them:

Spiritual Disciplines:
Described and Explained

Spiritual Disciplines aid us in becoming more like Christ and less ruled
by our flesh. In other words, it is a way to use our bodies to put on the
fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness and self-control) and to free our lives from vices
or sins. (Pride, envy, anger, laziness, greed, gluttony, and lust, just to
name a few).

Any soldier or athlete has different disciplines he uses to become better
at his particular activity. The Christian life is the most fundamental
part of who we are and so it makes sense that we ought to “train in
godliness” with even more enthusiasm and fervor than in any other
activity. God made us to be a certain sort of person—one who is constantly
yielding to Him and yet becoming more and more himself (with the
personality and the gifts God has given). The fullness of joy, for a
human, is only found when we “put off the things of the old life” and “put
on the character of Christ.” We must, like Paul, “beat our bodies into
submission.” (1 Cor 9:27)

It is important to understand that the things we give up for the purpose
of training our bodies are not bad in and of themselves. They either have
too much control over us, or are a way to gauge how strong certain desires
are in our life and how much they control us. Eating is not a bad
activity, neither is dressing nice, nor making a lot of money, but it may
be good to give all of them up at different times to see how much they
control our lives.

Also, different disciplines may be more or less helpful for different
people based on our various temperaments and areas of struggle. Even
within ourselves, the sins each of us needs to master in our lives will
most likely change over time. Younger men may need to fast often to
overcome lustful desires, whereas a middle aged man may need solitude from
his busy work schedule to learn to be understanding towards his wife and
children, (hold his temper, set the direction of his family) and an older
man may need to overcome his grumpy desires and speak kindly or commit
himself to study of God’s Word. Within our lives, God takes us through so
many different circumstances and we should constantly be looking to
cultivate godly qualities, and overcome our sinful/selfish desires.
There are two main divisions of spiritual disciplines—those of abstinence
and those of engagement. A simple way of thinking of them is that
abstaining from things helps us to overcome bad desires and actions, while
engaging in certain disciplines can help us develop good desires and