A Different Approach to the Christian Disciplines

Ephesians 2:1-7 (CSB) 1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient. 3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, 5 made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! 6 He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might display the immeasurable riches of his grace through his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Good day TRC and Friends! I have had the honor of being part of conversations about the Christian disciplines as we have been working our way through the Sermon on the Mount, and it’s been fun to talk about some “how-to” ways of engaging in these disciplines. 

It occurred to me this morning sitting in an allergy doctor’s office waiting on my youngest to get his shots how easy it is to overlook the place to begin. 

Let me make it clear that “different” here does not mean new. There are millennia of Christians in history and movements galore that have trod these roads innumerable times and we are not in new territory. 

Different does mean that it might be different for some of us. 

The Scripture above is that different beginning place. 

Here is a summary: Begin prayer, fasting, giving, silence, solitude, fellowship and the like with acknowledging by faith that we are already seated with Christ and are near him and him to us. 

Simple. Probably very hard for many of us. 

I would argue that our practice of the disciplines would flow and our experiential learning with Jesus would take off in fresh ways if we would just begin where our salvation begins, faith. 

Believe that we have been saved by grace through faith and are seated with Christ already. We are with him and he is with us. Revel in that. Whisper some thanksgiving to the Lord for that, and we may find the disciplines flowing from streams of living water produced by the Holy Spirit because we believed by faith what God has already told us to be true. 

I don’t have a magic potion to make you do that or try it. I personally desire to begin there, and it makes all the difference in the world for me. 

May you find that beginning in faith and enjoying the presence of Jesus is starting on the right foot, and may it feel good, and may it lead to great disciplines in joy for the fame of Jesus!

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