July 19, 2004

Beyond Happiness and Satisfaction

The phrase "Christian Disciplines" should be one of familiarity to one claiming to be a follower of Christ. There is nothing more challenging to the human being than to submit themselves to the daily practice of such disciplines.

Driving down the road with the radio playing, I can sing almost any song from the '80's that pops on, and yet, I sometimes struggle to recall that verse that I memorized last week.

Conversation is so stimulating to me, and truthfully, I must restrain myself from dominating it most of the time. Yet, when I seek the face of my God through the discipline of prayer, I am challenged to not let my mind wander and begin thinking of other things.

While I don't believe that my salvation rests on doing these things: prayer, reading the Bible, committing it to my memory, singing praise to God, serving Him by serving others around me, confessing my sin; I do believe that the joy of my salvation in this human life is completely dependent on my active participation in these opportunities given me by God to commune with Him. And who doesn't desire this? It is what I must remember in my exercise of these things; the ultimate result is joy.

Posted by Rae at July 19, 2004 12:14 AM

It is so hard to keep a disciplined devotional life. I understand it very well. But, you also must keep in mind the following:

  • You cannot compare memorizing a song with a Bible verse, unless you add music to that Bible verse. You might, perhaps, be acquainted with that song by Boney M that became a big hit in the late 70's, The Rivers of Babylon. Well, that song had lyrics based on Psalm 137 and Psalm 19:14. I think that if you were around by the time the song became a big hit, you might easily remember the Bible verses in it, too.

    The secret: Commit verses to song and see how you'll become more proficient in Bible memorizing.
  • The mind-wandering in prayer is always a challenge. My only tip for this problem would be to discipline yourself in the area of meditation. You can get a primer of Christian meditation together with other Christian disciplines in Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth (New York: HarperCollins, 2002). This is an excellent book that I have no hesitation to endorse.

The Cross comes before the crown; but the crown is coming, and then, the disciplines shall be no more but living joys.

Posted by: Eduardo at July 19, 2004 06:39 AM

I have found that when I am persistent in keeping a close relationship with God, I am less likely to focus on all of the worldly things that can consume me. As a result, the joy drowns out all of those feelings that are attatched to the things of worldly importance (greed, envy, lust, anger etc...). I am too busy trying to better my own spirit to look around and get tripped up. I agree, the ultimate result is personal joy that radiates from our souls. I like to think of it as our little inner lights that shine. Have you ever met a person that seems to just "shine" with joy? I have a cousin who is like that. She is an inspiration to me. Hopefully, you have one too. Or, quite possibly, YOU are a little light that helps keep someone else inspired. I will pray for your increased joy. And if you will, please do the same for me!

Posted by: Kadi Prescott at July 19, 2004 10:42 AM

Thanks for the thougths, Eduardo and Kadi :)

I have memorized many scriptures to song and, in fact, I think that Integrity Music may have put out a series of CD's that are scriptures set to music?

The over all thought in my mind when I was writing about this was, no matter my excuse, the time expended in prayer and scripture memory will be worthwhile and I think that as Christians we all struggle from time to time to make it a priority.

Posted by: RAe at July 19, 2004 03:56 PM

Amen to that, Rae! But the fact that you strive to keep it a ritual is what sets you apart from many other people.

Posted by: Kadi Prescott at July 19, 2004 03:59 PM

Inspiring post and comments; I can add nothing, but know that your words have done their work: I leave here with more joy... :)

Posted by: pam at July 20, 2004 08:32 AM

Pam- I am glad that you could walk away with a slice of joy :) I sooooooo need something as I am having an "I Hate Living in Utah" week!

Posted by: Rae at July 20, 2004 05:54 PM

"I do believe that the joy of my salvation in this human life is completely dependent on my active participation in these opportunities given me by God to commune with Him."

Yes, this is exactly it! We know that once saved, always saved. But there is even more blessing in being obedient while on this earthly phase of our eternal lives.

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Posted by: HomeL at August 6, 2005 05:26 AM
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