I have identified four core theologically-driven means for sanctification: (1) Bible intake, (2) the local church, (3) the spiritual disciplines, and (4) missional and/or service living. Today, I move on the the third item, spiritual disciplines; what role do they have in the process of progressive sanctification?
In his Christian classic, The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer makes this apt observation concerning the believer’s relationship to God: “He (God) communicates with us through the avenues of our minds, our wills and our emotions. The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the soul of the redeemed man is the throbbing heart of NT religion.” Indeed, the practice of the spiritual disciplines is what nurtures a “continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the soul of the redeemed man.”
Paul tells Timothy: “discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness” (1 Tim. 4:7). And, such passages as Phil. 2:12-13 (“work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you”), Rom. 12:1-8, Eph. 6:10-20, Col. 1:9-12, James 4:7-10, 1 John 2:3-6, etc., teach the believer that careful attention and self-discipline are core ingredients of personal spiritual growth.
The spiritual disciplines may include: personal Bible study, prayer, meditation, serving, silence and fasting, stewardship, journaling, fellowship and accountability with other saints, and private and anonymous giving. And the net results of the spiritual disciplines should be for the practitioner to focus on God through His Word, and the goal is a deeper understanding of, and relationship with, God. Any program of sanctification must teach these disciplines.
Tomorrow I will discuss the place that mission and service to others should have in our spiritual growth.
3 John 8