WHAT is SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE?

Spiritual discipline is an invitation, an open invitation to pattern our lives around the intimate rhythms of eternal life offered in Christ. According to Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:29-30, he welcomes us to join him by taking upon ourselves a “light and easy yoke.” The yoke is light and easy because Jesus himself already carries it and will be carrying it with us. What we call spiritual disciplines are simply those practices that help conform our lives and values to Jesus’ life and values; we carry his yoke with him.


Spiritual discipline is also a celebration-a celebration of our human limits. We delight ourselves in a God who meets us at our limits, which are no limit to God. The practices of spiritual discipline help us to direct our hearts and minds back to God. As Robert Mulholland has written, we rely on such practices to “release ourselves to let God do what God wants to do” (M. Robert Mulholland Jr., Shaped by the Word, 117). They realign our purposes and priorities with the reality of Christ: his eternal life, boundless lordship, and presence and not according to our own agenda, capacities, or calculation.


At Calvary, we encourage everyone to explore practices of spiritual discipline for the sake of spiritual transformation. Today all of us has an opportunity to respond to the invitation, to give in to the celebration at the heart of spiritual discipline: to participate in the extraordinary life promised us in Christ.


While just about any practice can exercise spiritual discipline if offered to God for God’s purposes, the practices presented on our website are good places to start. They are longstanding practices in the history of the Church that have helped generations of women and men pray and conform their lives to Christ. When exercised humbly and responsibly, they help us embody a spirituality that is emotionally healthy, restful, and transformative.


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