This week's devotional is from Pastor Jeff Mazzariello.
ENCOUNTER: Read Proverbs 4:23
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Part of this rephrased could be: “Your life is a product of the condition of your internal spiritual world.” If that is true, then the person you want to be and life you long to live will only be possible if the deepest places in you are being aligned with the Spirit of God himself. We desperately need him to help us get our spiritual house in order.
We assume God can do his work in us easily enough. The problem apparently lies on our end of the equation. We simply don’t partner with him. We don’t put ourselves effectively in the way of the Holy Spirit so that he has access to transforming us at our core. Cooperating with God in our spiritual development requires some investments of discipline on our part that God uses as tools in his hand to form us. Our spiritual house only gets put in order when we do the (sometimes) hard work of keeping the door wide open to him.
These “investments of discipline” are called Spiritual disciplines and they help us open ourselves to him. Do you have a plan to make these investments in your spiritual life? In last Sunday’s sermon I talked about 3 of them.
1. A plan to “Think Well” will require us to be in God’s Word so that our worldview is aligned with his. Is this new year the time for you to make a plan? What about studying a book of the New Testament phrase by phrase, line by line, so that it soaks in?
2. A plan to “Engage (with God) Well” will require us to intentionally move beyond the rote experience of singing or praying or showing up a church to being conscious of the actual presence and voice of God in all those things. Is this new year at time for you to make a plan? What about coming to church each Sunday and consciously engaging in each moment of the experience and note how God might be showing up for you each week?
3. A plan to “Spend Well” will require us to submit our money to God. This is really about admitting our self-reliance and fears and placing our trust in God and his provision. Is this new year the time for you to make a plan? What about working out a budget for all of your spending (including your tithing and giving) that is submitted to the Lord Jesus for his wisdom?
These three disciplines and many more are the avenues by which God does his forming in our hearts. Then, LIFE flows from it!
BE A BLESSING:
As you work out your own plans to put your spiritual house in order, the temptation can be to be so internally contemplative and/or so self-focused that you can miss out on living your life in such a way that you bless the spiritual journey of other people. What is one way you can live out your spiritual disciplines that will bless someone else? For example, what about sitting down to engage with God and ask him who you can be praying for? When you hear, you can pray, and then drop them a note encouraging them with that.
While these spiritual disciplines are about us getting our spiritual house in order, they are invariably enriched by the experience, wisdom, and participation of others on the same journey. Is there one of your plans that can be shared with a spiritual friend, so you can walk that path together?