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Doing away with Spiritual Disciplines?

God has been speaking to me a lot about His grace lately. To live in His freedom and love apart from having to perform or perfect myself–it’s a wonderful thing.

I want to make it clear though that I’m not advocating there is no use for spiritual disciplines like fasting, praying, devotional times, scripture reading, worship times, etc.

Grace doesn’t do away with such things, it enhances them.

Perhaps you’ve read something similar before. A person writes a sentence,

When will we eat Grandma?

When in actuality they meant,

When will we eat, Grandma?

grandmaAnd the point is, a little thing like a comma makes a big difference in understanding (and possibly saves the life of Grandma). What God has challenged me in this area of spiritual disciplines is that I cannot achieve holiness, righteousness, or freedom from sin with the things listed above.

When I operate in that understanding, I’m of the wrong mindset and spirit. When I move into these disciplines understanding that I can be more intimate with God and get to know Him better, they are productive and beautiful.

Like the example above with the missing comma, spiritual disciplines have much to offer.

  • They bring clarity. When you feel prompted by God to fast or even you initiate it yourself to bring some clarity and focus to your mind and heart, God seems to honor that. There are times when life swirls out of control and distractions are everywhere. Entering a spiritual discipline to gain His perspective is a “grace thing.” Doing it to impress Him or lord over others? Not so much.
  • They bring a needed pause. As in the sentence above, we are trained to pause when we come to a comma. Spiritual disciplines are not meant to keep us busy and work ourselves into a frenzy, but to aid in resting in Him. They are an opportunity to wait on Him and seek Him in the secret place.
  • They remind us little things are important. Sometimes when we’re working for approval, spiritual disciplines take on a much greater role and significance to us. You see yourself as doing great things for God, but when you gain proper perspective, you understand it’s a small part of your relationship with God. It’s important, but it’s still little. He’s made the big strides and invites you into His heart and life. You’re yoked with Jesus and His grace helps you carry it all.

Spiritual disciplines don’t overcome sin (because Jesus already did that), but they do have a wonderful place in our faith and development.

Agree or disagree? Would you add anything about what spiritual disciplines have to offer?



  1. Spiritual disciplines provide a way to do what Paul suggests in 1 Corinthians 9:27 where he says he disciplined himself like an athlete to keep from being disqualified. For me, the connection between the physical and the spiritual with regard to discipline helps me out tremendously. Athletic discipline gives me a visible example of the benefit of being disciplined and helps to understand the same is happening within my spirit as I practice spiritual disciplines. One example of this is with running, which has never been easy for me. But I refuse to give it up because it reminds me that discipline is sometimes difficult, but the victory come when we struggle through. Doing this with running helps me do this with spiritual disciplines too. Hope I’m making sense here…
    Kari Scare recently posted..My Depression StoryMy Profile

    • I think you’re making sense, Kari! The disciplines themselves help me get where I’m going and where I’m going is worth the momentary pain. We make a decision to trust and follow and then allow His grace to carry us. Thanks for the insights!

  2. I agree with you. one of the knocks against grace is its “free willing” view. Do what you want. Grace never does that. But I can see how it would enhance the disciplines. Good call Jason.
    Bill (cycelguy) recently posted..GarbageMy Profile

    • You were talking about oxymorons the other day, and I think “cheap grace” definitely fits the category. Grace has always been active in God’s working, but it was sealed and unleashed with the most precious gift of all, the blood of Jesus. That’s costly and it costs us everything to enter it, but there’s no freedom without it! Thank you, Bill.

  3. It the difference between “have to” and “get to.” It’s all about attitude. You mentioned Grandmas, so I’ll share my example. I did my best to obey as a kid because I didn’t want to disappoint my “Gram.” Not because she had a lot of rules, my parents provided those, but because she loved me unconditionally and I loved her. Spiritual disciplines draw a close and enhance the relationship.
    Deb Wolf recently posted..Things Christians Complain AboutMy Profile

    • Wonderful example! We certainly tend to perform better when we understand we’re loved and truly cared for. And in that case, we’re not focused on the performance so much as the person we love and who loves us. Beautiful. Thank you, Deb!

  4. I love what Deb wrote about “have to” and “get to.” That’s exactly right! It is an honor and a privilege, not a drudge or a duty, to do things which are pleasing to God and which draw us into a stronger, grace-filled relationship with him. (And, by the way, being a grammar junkie, I really liked the Grandma example of comma usage.) 🙂
    Blessings, Jason!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..Keys to the KingdomMy Profile

    • I thought you might like that example, Martha. 🙂 And I’m with you. Motivation is key to how we conduct our lives and spiritual walk. Are moving from grace and His love or out of duty and obligation? One is life and the other is spinning our wheels. Thanks so much, Martha!

  5. I’d add that perhaps spiritual discipline allows us to trust God more?
    Ed recently posted..Holy Spirit Head Slap.My Profile

    • Yes! When we do them in humility and submission to Him, they certainly do! Thank you, Ed.

  6. I agree.
    For me Spiritual Discipline helps keep me grounded in Christ when life gets too busy to slow down. It reminds me to find time to pray, to be with God, when my “to-do” list says there is no time.
    It has helped my relationship with Him to grow in intimacy where I can’t NOT talk with Him. He’s part of my day, even if I don’t sit down and have a 30 min devotional.
    It’s like when my spouse travels for work, I may not see him each evening, but I know I’m still married to him and love him. I still carry him in my heart even if miles separate us.
    I’m rambling sorry.

    • I don’t think you’re rambling at all! And I like the analogy of a spouse. We make connections with God throughout the day (or at least we have opportunity to). Sometimes there is dedicated and set time to seek and other times we seek as we’re going. Important thing is to seek! Thanks so much, TC.

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