Tue May 21, 2013
by Amanda Edmondson
From prison to ReTrain: Russell’s story
Mon May 20, 2013
9 types of leaders in Scripture
Mon May 20, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
5 bits of wisdom for the professional Christian woman
Sun May 19, 2013
by Shandel Slaten
Sat May 18, 2013
by Hugh Whelchel
Work On Your Weaknesses
Work on your weakness
Once you discover whether you are more naturally a contemplative or an activist you must then work on your area of weakness. In my years as a pastor I have found that most of us lean heavily toward the contemplative or the active disciplines at the expense of the other. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for people to read about Jesus in their Bible and only see His contemplative or activist scenes at the expense of seeing the healthy tension that Jesus lived in. As a result, when a contemplative thinks of Jesus they are prone to imagine Him sitting alone in the wilderness and silently reading Scripture and praying. Conversely, when an activist thinks of Jesus they are prone to imagine Him performing miracles, preaching, and casting out demons, never sitting down or taking a day off. The truth is that Jesus practiced every contemplative discipline and every active discipline (with the exception of lovemaking). To follow in His example means we must follow in His entire example.
One of the worst things I have witnessed is immature Christians who judge another Christian as immature because they do not have the same natural strength in a particular spiritual discipline. This takes many forms, such as the spiritually disciplined evangelist who looks down on people who don’t share their faith every moment of every day with everyone they encounter. Another example is the spiritually disciplined student who looks down on people who do not read enormous books written by dead guys for hours at a time and geek out learning the difference between things like transubstantiation and consubstantiation. If the distinction between contemplatives and activists is not understood in marriage, the result can be very painful; conflict ensues when spouses try to impose how they do their spiritual disciplines upon one another. Perhaps the worst case I am personally aware of was a well-intentioned young husband who had his wife sit on their couch while he gave her theology lectures complete with a white board and then expected to quiz her. He was shocked to realize that she did not find this romantic. She would have preferred that he put the white board away and got a job to feed their family; they could not eat all his theology books and they were getting hungry.
You must begin with humility
In short, when it comes to the spiritual disciplines we must each begin with humility. Every Christian is spiritually disciplined in some areas of their life and spiritually undisciplined in others. Therefore, each Christian we meet is a potential teacher of sorts, able to help us grow as disciples more like Jesus. We must be willing to inquire of their strengths and learn from them. As a final word of preface, two items are important to note before we study spiritual disciplines here together in the coming months. One, the spiritual disciplines are not something we have to do to make God love us. Rather, because God already does love us, the spiritual disciplines are something that we get to do as we love Him back and enjoy growing in our loving relationship with Him. Two, the spiritual disciplines are not intended to enslave us. Rather, they are intended to lead us into growing freedom in the same way that a trained athlete or musician is free to enjoy the task more than a novice.