Spiritual Disciplines: Inward, Outward, Corporate

Spiritual Disciplines: Inward, Outward, Corporate

Spiritual practices help us see Jesus more clearly. They can help us pay attention to God’s grace all around us. The Celebration of Discipline (HarperCollins, 1998) by Richard Foster, offers a helpful collection of practices, grouped in categories according to how they might be practiced.


Inward Practices

  • Prayer – I speak and listen to Jesus . . . conversation with the Lord.
  • Meditation – I dwell on an aspect of Jesus, a trait, saying, or action. What is Jesus up to? What does he desire? And for me?
  • Study – Knowing the Scriptures like Jesus knows them . . . deeply explore . . . wrestle with God.
  • Fasting – A practice that teaches me that my life is not about my instant gratification, or perhaps even latter gratification. Life is in knowing Christ; sustenance is in walking with God. Fasting teaches me the path of maturity against the path of pacification and infancy.

Outward Practices

  • Solitude – Teaches me to be alone, to listen, to strive to be without distraction sometimes. Why? So I can hear and see Jesus more clearly and enter continually into his Way of Truth and Life.
  • Simplicity – Life is more than possessions, endless activity, or complexity. Simplicity helps me seek the one thing – Jesus and his Way. It is the clearing of clutter so that I can walk freely with God.
  • Submission – Learning how to love and listen to others instead of manipulating and controlling them. Submission is a basic trust that Jesus is Lord and I don’t have to be. It’s an ability to love without imposition or force.
  • Service – The Way of Jesus is the Way of Serving. Serving is loving and being present to others and their needs. I learn how to walk like Jesus by learning how to serve.

Corporate/Together Practices

  • Celebration – I celebrate life and grace by Jesus’ death and resurrection. I have a hope and a future because of my God who loves and died for me. Celebrating with others is living the joy Christ comes to bring for all people – the Kingdom is coming and is here – rejoice!
  • Worship – Is an adoration of Jesus, his sacrifice, the Father’s great love, and the Spirit’s constant, renewing presence. To worship is to love God completely and to desire no other thing in comparison. It is to will one thing: the presence, love, and will of the Lord.
  • Confession – This shows me how greatly I need the love of God. While I am still a sinner, Jesus died for my for the forgiveness of my sin and rose to life that I too might rise in the waters of baptism to live a new and eternal life – a life of dependence upon Jesus the Way, Truth and Life. I also learn how to confess with others that Jesus is Savior and Lord.
  • Guidance – I learn how to be guided, like Jesus with the Father, and to guide, like Jesus with his disciples.

I want to will one thing: that I may become like Jesus, live like Jesus, for Jesus, and to live a true life that is a pure spiritual act of worship – by the Spirit’s renewal of who I am by the Word (Jesus), may my life be pleasing in the sight of you, Father.


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