It Don’d on me
Simple ways to keep our spiritual life active and growing
Last Sunday we began a four-sermon series on “Spiritual Fitness,” exploring ways we can keep our spiritual life active and growing. I’m comparing four areas of Physical Fitness to related areas of Spiritual Fitness. Last Sunday we considered Bible Study as spiritual “Good Nutrition.” Next Sunday, January 31, we will look at prayer as a spiritual practice of “adequate breathing.” Then we will move on to Acts of Service as “Strength Conditioning,” and, finally, a regular practice that is equally important for our physical and spiritual well-being: Adequate Rest.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of “exercises for spiritual fitness.” Each of these areas yields best results when practiced both communally and individually, but during this season of our spending more time physically apart, many of us find time to devote to Bible study, prayer, service, and rest.
On Sunday I shared two simple methods for meditating on God’s Word. One is to read a selection of Scripture several times through, each time asking a different question of the text you are reading: “What does this passage say about God?” “What does this passage say about
humans?” And on the third or fourth reading, “What does this passage say about the relationship between God and humans?” Over my years of leading Bible Study groups, I have found myself in deeply enriching conversations just from having people share their responses to these three simple questions. You might wrap up your time in your text by asking a fourth question, “What have I learned about the relationship between God and me?”
I also shared the “Seven-Minute Quiet Time” approach: Use a timer to literally spend 1 minute in prayer, then 5 minutes reading your Bible, then 1 more minute of prayer. You could start with the worship texts from last Sunday morning, or do this to read through the Gospel according to Mark, 5 minutes a day with 1 minute of prayer before and after reading. Be warned: the Seven-minute Quiet Time can become habit-forming! The third approach for meditating on Scripture, which I promised to share in the Friend and on our church website, is a little more involved. I call it “Point of View.” You’ll want paper handy to take some simple notes. First, select a passage of Scripture that is a narrative-style story or a parable of Jesus. Read the story aloud to yourself. Then read it through again and list all of the characters in the story. (Named groups like “the crowd” or “the disciples” or “the Pharisees” count as a character, along with the individuals. And remember to include God and/or Jesus if they are in the story!). Now re-read the story and ask, “Which character in this story do I most identify with, right now? Why is that?” Finally, ask yourself a few follow-up questions: “Is there a different character in this story whom I’d rather be? Whom I’d rather think like, believe like, respond like?” Finally, in light of your place in this story, ask yourself: “What do I need from God/Jesus Christ today?” Give this a try using Mark 10:46-52.
Try one or more of these exercises to get some good nutrition from your Bible this week. Then join us this Sunday morning as we learn how to deepen our capacity for prayer.
Growing with you, Don