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by Bubba Jennings
Contemplatives and Activists
To become skilled at something requires discipline.
What good musicians, athletes, and Christians share in common is discipline, which, interestingly enough, shares the same root word as disciple. Therefore, to be a disciple of Jesus Christ is to be a person who lives a disciplined lifestyle patterned after the example of Jesus by the enabling of the same Holy Spirit that empowered Him.
The Spiritual Disciplines
The spiritual disciplines are varying ways that God works in our lives to mold us to be continually more like Jesus. In this series, I will be examining two spiritual disciplines each month, in hopes of teaching you how they are practiced and aiding you in becoming increasingly disciplined. Being spiritually disciplined is not the pursuit of some mythical balance. Rather, as Ecclesiastes says, there are times and seasons in life; our spiritual life will need to be constantly adjusted to best serve our soul in these various seasons. Therefore, the key to living a spiritually disciplined life is living in tension because that is exactly what the spiritual disciplines create.
Contemplative and Active
The tension of the spiritual disciplines comes from the fact that they fall into two broad and general categories: contemplative and active. There are many ways to simplify this distinction. The contemplative disciplines are about being, whereas the active disciplines are about doing. The contemplative spiritual disciplines help us to slow down and connect with God, whereas the active disciplines compel us to be busy and connect with others. The contemplative disciplines focus on the world of ideas, whereas the active disciplines focus on the world of projects.
Contemplatives are energized by quiet, rest, solitude, and Sabbath.
Activists are energized by noise, projects, community, and chaos.
Contemplatives are attuned to what is happening in them.
Activists are attuned to what is happening around them.