Self-Help Verses Spiritual Discipline Part 2 by :Tim Hunter
Here is the conclusion of this great blog written by Tim Hunter on why spiritual discipline is so important.
Spiritual disciplines flow from identity, self-help attempts to create identity.
One path leads to life to the full, one leads to frustration and sin.
Train Better rather than Try Harder
So, we must discipline ourselves not to gain an identity but rather because we have already been given an identity. Our identity is secure in the gospel so through spiritual discipline we are simply stepping into the life that Jesus has already secured for us.
I would argue our response to this would be to train ourselves unto godliness, rather than simply gritting our teeth and trying really hard.
Training through the spiritual disciplines looks like taking advantage of the means of grace that we have at our disposal and ordering our lives around them in order to step into progression in our discipleship and walk with Jesus.
Trying harder looks like desperately trying to just do better. In my experience, it will lead to frustration and burnout.
I say this from experience. I am a type-A personality and highly competitive. If I am not careful I can put myself on the throne of my life and lean into rhythms of self-help instead of spiritual discipline.
But if I believe what I claim about the gospel – the answers to my problems and failures are not found in me but in the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
Therefore I must order my life around Him, and step into rhythms that will lead me deeper in surrender to God and not reliance on self.
Easier said than done.
I hope this makes sense – self-help or spiritual discipline.
I will leave you with this passage: 1 Corinthians 15:10 KJV – “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
Everything the apostle Paul did was by the grace of God, but this did not lead him into less discipline and hard work but rather into more.
And it was all through the grace of God. I believe this is the heart of the difference between self-help and spiritual discipline. One flows from the grace of God, and the other scrapes and claws based on the efforts of self.
So friends, let’s discipline ourselves. Let’s step into the spiritual disciplines, let’s be rigorous in our pursuit of advancement in progression in our spiritual formation.
But may it all flow from the grace of God, and not from the strength of self.
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