This past Sunday at Morgantown Community Church, we wrapped up a short series on becoming a ‘clutch person’ by talking about spiritual disciplines [you can listen to both weeks of the ‘Clutch’ series by clicking here]. Spiritual disciplines, according to Dallas Willard, are “activities that are in our power that enable us to do what we cannot do by direct effort.” One example of this might be training for a marathon. You can’t jump up off the couch, having never ran a mile, and immediately be prepared for a 26 mile marathon. You can, however, run a bit each day–pushing yourself more and more–until you are ready to run the full marathon.
The same is true for the spiritual life.
We are unfinished, in process, on a journey. If I want to be closer to Christ, more generous, more compassionate, etc., then spiritual disciplines help us do that by training our hearts and forming us into the kinds of people who would be and do those kinds of things.
The image we used to describe how these various disciplines work is that of a sail boat.
Spiritual disciplines act like sails that catch the wind and move us forward; without the wind, however, we are left adrift. The wind, in this example, is the Spirit of God, who is always moving among us. As we raise our sails, his wind propels us into transformation.
We provided a list of resources for further learning and discussion after this teaching, and I though I would share it here as well, with links. So, if you wish to explore this further, here are a few places to start.
Are you intentionally raising the sail?
James Bryan Smith
Ruth Haley Barton
Goheen and Bartholomew