Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Questions for the Soul

Manny posed these questions about our spiritual formation this morning in class. Legalism is the tendency of the human heart, so it's hard not to look at these questions and measure our status before God in light of how well we're doing in these various areas (as CJ Mahaney says in The Cross Centered Life, it turns into "plate spinning"). However, it is important to take a long look every now and then at how we are doing in our relationship with God. After all, our fruit (how we spend our time and energy, and the quality of our relationships) is a direct indication of what we are worshiping.

So without further ado...
  1. How much time do I spend daily in a disciplined experience of prayer?
  2. What methods have I discovered for reading the Bible in a way that the Scriptures nurture my experience of God?
  3. Do I have one or more spiritual companions who share the journey with me and to whom I am accountable?
  4. Has there been a time in my life that God seemed nearer than today?
  5. To what extent is prayer integrated into my life?
  6. Do I seek times of solitude in which I am alone with God? How often?
  7. What other sources of spiritual nurture do I have?
  8. When was the last time I made a spiritual retreat?
  9. Is my consciousness of God related ot the issues facing the world?
  10. What in my life rivals God for priority?
Now, I'm not going to put my own answers here ... I'm not silly enough to plaster my cheatin' heart across the internet, no matter how few people actually read it!

But what I will say is that I recognize in my life increasingly the need to be disciplined in obedience to God's command to "be still." Over my spring break, I intended to have these nice extended times with the Lord, since the tyranny of the urgent shouldn't have been quite so tyrannical when I was away from the daily grind of school. Yet, what I found myself doing was filling my life with little distractions - turning on the TV because I was bored, fiddling around on the internet, feeling pressed to study whenever I had a quiet moment ... and before I knew it, I was back in Philly without really having taken time to just revel quietly in the presence of my Savior.

I am SO thankful that nothing in my redemption depends on my own faithfulness ... because I would literally be without hope. Blessed be the God who ordained that "Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more." (Rom 5:20)

"Oh to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be.
Let thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love.
Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it,
Seal it for they courts above."

1 comment:

Christian said...

I think you've nailed it when you say,

"Over my spring break, I intended to have these nice extended times with the Lord, since the tyranny of the urgent shouldn't have been quite so tyrannical when I was away from the daily grind of school. Yet, what I found myself doing was filling my life with little distractions"

We like to assume that the reason we are so busy is because of all the things that are "forced" on us. So in the case of seminary, its easy to think "I could be more spiritual if only the academic load was a bit more reasonable."

Now, the academic load might in fact need some adjusting, but I really wonder if it were suddenly lightened whether I would really spend more time with God, or just spend more time on myself. You see, I need just as much adjusting (if not more).

And that raises another point - maybe this is just God's way of adjusting me? It's interesting that what I really want is calm and tranquility (where I don't have to change); and yet what God tells me to expect as the Christian norm is suffering that I might be conformed to the image of Christ (Phil 1:27).

So anyway, good thoughts. Thanks for an insightful post.