As women, we know the importance of self-discipline for achieving our goals in life, be it career, fitness or relationships. But what about our spiritual life? Spiritual disciplines exist for the sole purpose of building character conducive to Christ’s teachings, but we must be willing to make the journey.-Rev. Moreen Hughes
Today, we want to share about a new book that was just released by local Pastor Rev. Moreen Hughes, entitled “A Woman’s Journey with God: Engaging in the Spiritual Disciplines.” As an associate pastor and women’s minister at Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton, Pastor Moreen is passionate about helping women become the best that God has created them to be. In her new book, she presents a set of spiritual disciplines to help women develop Christlike character and become the best version of themselves.
Click below to read an excerpt from her book. You can purchase her book here!
“Practices such as reading Scripture and praying are important – not because they prove how spiritual we are – but because God can use them to lead us into life.”John Ortberg, The life you’ve always wanted: Spiritual disciplines for Ordinary People
In today’s culture, we are seeing a renewed interest in the spiritual disciplines. People are looking for the connectedness into those things that are meaningful and can bring them into greater relationship with God.
Having developed a personal interest in topics of ‘Christian spirituality’ and ‘Christian spiritual formation,’ I have researched and studied the impact of the spiritual disciplines in the lives of women specifically. These results, done in correlation with my doctoral academic studies, strongly suggest that those who regularly engage in practice of the disciplines have more of a spiritual consciousness and connectedness to Christ, than those who do not, including the formation of their character, spiritually and morally. The practicing of the spiritual disciplines has the potential to aid in the practice of God’s redemptive interactions within each of us.
It is my belief that for the inner self to be spiritually shaped and formed, and the mind to be renewed and transformed, it takes more than a casual knowledge of the Word of God, or an occasional engagement with the disciplines. These practices must become common place in the everyday lives of each of us. There must be a commitment to intentionally setting aside time and developing a lifestyle, which includes interaction with the Word, earnest daily prayer, engaging in the disciplines and an external demonstration of faith that will make one worthy of being called a ‘Christian’ – a disciple of Christ.
If change and spiritual formation is to be experienced on this Christian journey – It is not about saying so, but knowing so, and doing so.
Paul said in Philippians 3:10, that knowing Christ is the most important thing he could have ever done in all his life regardless of social standings or interactions, educational attainment, economical resources, or familial ties. We too have access to the principles for knowing Christ, but we must daily set aside the necessary time daily from our over-crowded schedules in order to do so. Refraining from always saying ‘yes’ to others and saying ‘no’ at times, allows us the time to say ‘yes’ to engage in the disciplines and gain a greater understanding of who God is.
Embarking on a spiritual journey is no easy task. It is an intentional pursuit that requires the individual to purposefully engage in those things that allows for the attainment of such. There is the preparatory stage. Preparing the heart, mind, and soul for the journey. Being on this Christian spiritual journey requires intentionally learning how to seek after the things of Christ.
Walking with Christ and engaging in the practice of the spiritual disciplines helps believers in all seasons and stages of life, including times of uncertainty and times of confidence. They revolve around our love for God and help produce Hope, Strength, Trust, Humility, Joy, and Compassion. They produce the ability to see and interact with others in ways God intends in loving our neighbor as self.
The practice of the disciplines produces desirable qualities necessary to emulate positive interactions with others, self and God. My belief is that when we are obedient and allow the Holy Spirit to work in us, we become more like Christ. When we are more like him, we become closer to God feeling whole and connected.
Having a daily quiet time, praying regularly, fasting, and studying God’s Word are not things that people do naturally, they are not an automatic part of us, but they automatically come as a result of our spiritual maturity and when done with consistency.
In an era where instant gratification is the way that people often approach life, the very idea of discipline does not seem appealing to many. Yet, God invites us on a journey with him that involves discipline. This spiritual journey helps us to find out who we are in life and in Christ. The purpose is not to become mystical or find profound and theological answers, rather, it helps in an individual’s transformational process, moving them toward spiritual development, while journeying on a quest to consciously deepen their spiritual insights.
We are living in stressful times and there is concern that many persons including followers of Christ, are feeling the effects that are being manifested in the form of depression, anxiety, stress, and discouragement. These debilitating defects can be devastating and have the potential to lead a Christian out of the work ministry and away from the church. However, there is a school of thought that the spiritual disciplines can be beneficial and serve as an aid in helping to manage one’s emotions as well as serve as a deterrent in to helping persons to deal with the uncertainty of times.
When the focus is shifted away from self, maintaining that connection with God, family and the church can be achieved. I believe that when practiced correctly, spiritual disciplines can be useful as we strive to maintain focus and balance in our lives.
May our wills be lost in the will of God, as we seek to draw closer to him.
In ways that bring us into his presence – engaging in – the spiritual disciplines.