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Let the Training Begin
Posted on Mar. 6, 2011 6 Comments
A few hours after I was baptized, way back on February 20, 1977, I read the New Testament book of James in it’s entirety and offered a brief prayer to God asking for help in living this new life I had just been given. Thus began my quest for spiritual formation. In the 34 years since that day I have experimented with many spiritual disciplines and exercises seeking to know how best to cooperate with God’s Spirit who is working to form me into the image of Christ.
In my early years we talked about Spiritual Growth instead of Spiritual Formation and the tools offered were few. In addition to weekly church attendance the Christians I associated with strongly urged me to develop the practice of a daily Quiet Time. The first activity of each morning was thus spent in intercessory prayer and Bible reading. This practice of Quiet Time served me well for a number of years. Eventually, however, I realized that my daily habit had been taken over by Satan and continually led me into guilt (for not doing it enough) or pride (for my successful accomplishment). After a great deal of struggle I just had to let the practice go away.
In it’s place I’ve developed a number of other “habits” that have served me well. As our series of sermons (and Bible Classes) continue I will be sharing with you some of the disciplines that have been well tested by many believers over the centuries. After today’s sermon a woman in her 60’s told me that just this morning she had been praying, “Lord, I’m so tired of trying.” When she heard in the sermon the encouragement to “stop trying and start training” she knew the Lord had heard her prayer and was answering the cry of her heart.
I’ve put Amazon links to some additional resources for those readers who want to go deeper. I’ll be saying more about these books in the future. Each of the ones listed here has been personally helpful to me on my journey. Let the Training Begin!