Spiritual disciplines – religious duties or relational delights?

By Dave Henning / September 23, 2017

“But what if we approached these behaviors [the spiritual disciplines] less as religious duties — they are that obviously, but they are more than that — and more as relational delights?”- Jared C. Wilson

“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”- John 15:5

In Chapter 4 (“The Rhythm of Listening”) of The Imperfect Disciple, Jared Wilson begins with a discussion of the spiritual disciplines.  The author asks what would happen if we approached spiritual disciplines less as religious duties and more as relational delights.  Hence, with this approach, the work we put into our relationship with Christ more directly flows from your already-secured position in Him.  As a result, there’s less emphasis on the idea that we’ve got to maintain our spiritual state.

Put differently, Jared wonders, what if we saw Jesus as our friend more than our boss?  Of course, Jesus is our master, commander, and sovereign Lord.  But, even though Jesus no longer calls us servants, that doesn’t negate our need to obey.  As Pastor Wilson stresses, Jesus only changed the relational context for doing what He says.

Therefore, Jesus’ commands come from a position of love.  Also, they’re positioned for our good.  In addition, the author adds, this relationship, born of the gospel, helps us see that “our obedience is not the grounds of our relationship, but the overflow of it.”

In conclusion, Jared believes, in a way spiritual disciplines involve getting active about being passive.  However, the author notes, this kind of passivity doesn’t equate with laziness or inactivity.  Rather, it’s about receptivity.  Stated another way, it’s really about working without striving.

Today’s question: What spiritual disciplines do you employ in your daily life?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “God owns all of life – abide in Him”

About the author

Dave Henning

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