The Goal of Spiritual Practices
Almost every year, when news years goals and resolutions roll around, millions of people make a goal connected to their spiritual life. It might be reading their bible more, praying more, being more generous, which is awesome. But often, we fail to move the needle in those places, or at least to the degree we’d look to.
Often then, we get frustrated with ourselves, think something is wrong with us, and many times, fail to reengage with God.
Have you ever asked why that is? There are many reasons this happens, but I think one of them centers on spiritual practices.
Have you ever asked yourself: What is the goal of spiritual practices? When I read my bible, pray, give, fast, or any other spiritual practice, what am I hoping will happen?
We are in the middle of a series on spiritual practices at our church. At some point, to actually grow in our faith and spiritual journey, we have to ask this important question. I often; assume something will happen or believe that the point isn’t that important because we are supposed to do it.
But if you think about the question, you will start to think of things like growing close to Jesus, growing in my faith, learning about Jesus.
Spiritual practices are the ways that we connect with God and relate to God. But spiritual practices also do something else; they are how we become more present to God, others, and ourselves.
This is why the goal of spiritual practices is so important because if we don’t know the purpose, we won’t know why we need to practice them or what we are trying to experience or accomplish when we practice them. We will also miss what God is trying to do in us, around us, and through us in those practices. We can read our bible, pray, take a sabbath, and miss all that it could be.
While spiritual practices do many things, I think they bring about 2 significant things:
- They are about our formation, how we become more like Christ, how we walk with Christ as his disciples, as his apprentices, alongside him.
- They help us to be present with God, ourselves, and others. They help us be aware of what is going on in us, what is going on in others, and what God is doing. They help us not to miss things.
As we practice them, we are looking for how God is forming us. As we experience difficulty or struggle through practice, we are looking for what God is doing in us, how we are being shaped, and who we are being shaped into. But practices are not just us and God. They involve the community and are shaped by the community. Yes, you will be alone often as you practice spiritual practices, but they also have a deep connection to others both in practice and how we interact with others after the practice. This is often forgotten, and I think that brings damage to the Christian life.
This article originally appeared here.