I now understand how a great spiritual discipline can become an empty chore or worse, an afterthought.
I am still committed to my Lenten fast from Coke and to my one day a week fast from food. But they quickly lost their status as spiritual encouragers and became just another thing I had to do. Within two weeks, it had become an empty tradition, as Jesus called it.
If it can happen in two weeks, what becomes of a lifetime of going to church every Sunday and Wednesday? What becomes of reading your Bible and praying everyday? As I examine these things, I find that most days they blend into the cluttered backdrop of other check marks on my to-do list.
We have to fight (Paul said in the same way that we buffet our bodies) to make sure that our spiritual disciplines remain spiritual. Church isn't just a social gathering or business meeting, prayer isn't a soliloquy, Bible reading isn't a sedative to help us sleep, and fasting isn't a diet plan. These are opportunities to fine-tune our heart strings to our Composer, Concert Master, and Conductor.
As I renew (daily) my commitment, renew with me (daily) your commitment to the spiritual disciplines God has set before us.