Spiritual Exercise

Here’s a short piece I wrote recently for publication at our church. Nothing profound—just an attempt using a small space to get people to begin thinking of ways to more deeply engage life with and for God.

    SPIRITUAL EXERCISE

One of my favorite sports in high school was track—I was a sprinter and a jumper. I’ve recently gotten back involved with the STC track program, and it has caused me to think about that oh-so-popular spring time topic of getting in shape… It used to be that I was in very good shape. I was running, lifting weights, eating smart. But over my college years, my fitness level has, shall we say, declined. When I was a few years younger, and zealous for athletics, I trained my body to be the athlete I wanted to be. But now…well…we’ll just say I’m not where I used to be.

I have always been struck by Paul’s advice to Timothy: “train yourself for godliness;  for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (I Timothy 4 ESV)

Most of us desire to “get in shape” spiritually. We want to improve our spiritual fitness, to become the people God calls us to be…but what do we do to get there? Because spiritual fitness—otherwise known as spiritual formation—doesn’t just happen on its own. Just as we train to get in shape, we need to train to be God’s faithful people in our world. Growing spiritually requires intentional effort.

There are numerous spiritual exercises—what some call the ‘spiritual disciplines’—that can become part of our spiritual training regimen. What can you do to exercise your spirituality? Here are just a few to stir your thinking—there are plenty of practices to help us grow, but these are foundational and intricately connected:

  • - Prayer: coming to God, not just with requests, but in thankfulness, consistently (Philippians 4v6)
  • - Silence & Solitude: All throughout Jesus’ ministry, he took time to get away from the hustle & bustle of his hectic life. Even if it’s just minutes a day, it is important for us to disconnect from to-do lists, and rest in God’s providence and grace      (Mk 1v35)
  • - Meditation: Take time to “count your blessings,” and think on the ways God has been faithful to you physically, and reflect on the promises of Scripture (Ps 77v12)
  • - Scripture Reading: Scripture is God’s word to us. It’s important that we take time to listen to it, be challenged by it, and take comfort in it. Come to God’s word, not just to learn a new bit of information, but to be formed by it. (Ps 119v93)
  • - Service & Mission: We are most aligned with God’s will when we put it into practice in our world. It is the best form of training we have. (Eph 4v1)

—Brad Schrum

3 Responses to Spiritual Exercise
  1. Thomas Reply

    A great list. It’s important to keep in mind that we can’t just excel at one spiritual discipline, we should pursue them all. We’re called to be spiritual generalists, not spiritual specialists.

  2. bms Reply

    Thanks—I like that term “spiritual generalists.” As of right now, my congregation isn’t really engaging much in “out of the [traditional for our fellowship] box” spirituality. I imagine the same could be said for a lot of churches too.

  3. [...] The spiritual disciplines help us enter that life with God. They are not magic formulas that will transf... bradschrum.com/disciplined-pursuit-of-god-the-spiritual-disciplines

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