Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spiritual Disciplines - A lost tradition in this busy modern world

Centuries ago, our lives were less complex, slower and more meaningful. There was more time to be at peace and to slow down to read or watch the sunrise. Now with increased technology at our disposal, we have less time on our hands - paradoxically. Is it then impossible to break away from all these modern break neck speeds and be able to center down with God?

I believe we can, by practicing spiritual disciplines.

There are 4 Spiritual disciplines to nourish our souls:
1) Discipline of Solitude
2) Discipline of Surrender
3) Discipline of Study
4) Discipline of Service

Discipline of Solitude is where we learn to listen more to God and speak lesser. There are modern day silent retreats to attend to re-live this ancient wisdom. And for the beginners, there is always a quiet walk in the park on by the beach. The key is to be attune to God and what He speaks and shows to us through nature or daily life situations.

Discipline of Surrender is a daily conscious effort to surrender to God the controls of our lives. In short, like what Paul says, to die daily to self, and to let Him increase in our lives. It it the most difficult thing to do in this age of self-promotion through Facebook and Twitters and getting people to follow you.

The 3rd discipline is that of study. We need to make time to study the Word of God and to build depth in our spiritual lives. It is easy to quote somebody's work but it does not build deep foundations in your own life. Unfortunately, there is no substitute for personal study of His word. Do we have a personal study plan of the Bible? Is there one book that you can start this year?

Lastly, there is the discipline of Service. As we have the three sources of intake, we also need to give out, and we can do this in the form of service. Serving God through the church, para church or mission organisations. Or even reaching reaching out to the community with your work colleagues on a regular basis.

Recently during lunch, I was encouraged by my near retiring colleague who told me that he plans to go to the neighbouring blocks after work to visit them and talk to whoever he meets and see what he can do to help them. I was sceptical about the methodology but very encouraged by his heart for service.

4 ancient ways of Spiritual disciplines. If we do them consistently, our souls will no doubt be nourished and strengthen. Disciplines is indeed not a dirty word, but a much needed word for this generation.

Go for it.

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