Every day spiritually disciplined!

As believers, our first desire is to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ and to glorify Him in it. This goal is unattainable without His strength and sanctification by the Holy Spirit. However, He has instructed us in the way to godliness, and we know that it is through discipline. In this case, I have been learning through Professor Don Whitney’s book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, that this discipline must be manifested first in study of God’s Word, meditation, and prayer. These disciplines are absolutely necessary to the Christian; they must the be the very air that we breathe. And one of our greatest examples of these disciplines is the great man faith, George Muller, who lived only on the spiritual disciplines, saw every prayer answered and loved the Lord with all of His heart, soul, mind, and strength. The following is an excerpt from Muller’s diary of 1841, as quoted by Don Whitney in his book, which unravels the “secret” as it has been called, to Muller’s great faith. Dear reader, I beg that you would read this carefully! These spiritual disciplines are so incredibly necessary; the Christian life is nothing without such communion with God and cultivation of a deeper love for Him!

……….

“Before this time my practice had been, at least for ten years previously, as an habitual thing, to give myself to prayer after having dressed in the morning. Now, I saw that the most important thing was to give myself to the reading of God’s Word, and to meditation on it, that thus my heard might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that thus, by means of the Word of God, whilst meditation on it, my heart might be brought into experimental communion with the Lord.

“I began therefore to meditate on the New Testament from the beginning, early in the morning. The first thing I did, after having asked in a few words of the Lord’s blessing upon His precious Word, was to begin to meditate on the Word of God, searching as it were into every verse to get blessing out of it; not for the sake of the public ministry of the Word,not for the sake of preaching on what I had meditated upon, but for the sake of obtaining food for my own soul.

“The result I have found to be almost invariably this, that after a few minutes my soul has been led to confession, or to thanksgiving, or to intercession, or to supplication; so that, thought I did not, as iw were, give myself to prayer, but to meditation, yet it turned almost immediately more or less to prayer. When thus I have been for a while making confession of intercession or supplication, or have given thanks, I go on to the next words or verse, turning all, as I go on, into prayer for myself or others, as the Word may lead to it, but still continually keeping before me that food for my own soul is the object of my meditation. The result of this is that there is always a good deal of confession, thanksgiving, supplication, or intercession mingled with my meditation, and that my inner man almost invariably is even sensibly nourished and strengthened, and that by breakfast time, with rare exceptions, I am in a peaceful if not happy state of heart.

“The difference, then, between my former practice and my present one is this: formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible and generally spent all my time till breakfast in prayer, or almost all the time. At all events I almost invariably began with prayer…. But what was the result? I often spent a quarter of an hour, or half an hour, or even an hour on my knees before being conscious myself of having derived comfort, encouragement, humbling of soul, etc.; and often, after having suffered much from wandering of mind for the first ten minutes, or quarter of an hour, or even half an hour, I only then really began to pray.

“I scarcely ever suffer now in this way. For my heart being nourished by the truth, being brought into experimental fellowship with God, I speak to Father and to my Friend (vile though I am, and unworthy of it) about the things that He has brought before me in His specious Word. It often now astonished me that I did not sooner see this point…. And yet now, since God has taught me this point, it is as plain to me as anything that the first the child of God has to do morning by morning is to obtain food for his inner man.

“Now what is food for the inner man? Not prayer, but the Word of God; and here again, not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that is only passes through our minds, just as water passes through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering over it and applying it to our hearts.

“When we pray we speak to God. Now prayer, in order to be continued for any length of time in any other than a formal godly desire, and the season therefore when this exercise of the soul can be most effectually performed is after the inner man has been nourished by the meditation on the Word of God, where we find our Father speaking to us, to encourage us, to comfort us, to instruct us, to humble us, to reprove us. We may therefore profitably meditate with God’s blessing though we are ever so weak spiritually; nay, the weaker we are, the more we need meditation for the strengthening of our inner man. thus there is far less to e feared from wandering of mind that if we give ourselves to prayer without having had time previously for meditation.

“I dwell so particularly on this point because of the immense spiritual profit and refreshment I am conscious of having derived from it myself, and I affectionately and solemnly beseech all of my fellow believers to ponder this matter. By the blessing of God, I ascribe to this mode the help and strength which I have had from God to pass in peace through deeper trials, in various ways, than I have ever had before; and having now fourteen years tried this way, I can most fully, in the fear of God, commend it.”

1 Timothy 4:7-8, “But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

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One Response to “Every day spiritually disciplined!”
  1. Wow. This was well needed. Great post Sierra.

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