Archives For Desiring God
The following is from the Desiring God Ministries website with a lightly edited transcript of the 3-minute video. A 1-minute summary video is also included at the end of this post.
Many of us struggle to read our Bibles and pray on a daily basis. Therefore, when we do, we rarely question our motivation. It’s easy to assume that Bible reading and prayer are magic bullets — if we read and pray, we will grow. It’s not that simple.
“It is not enough to do the correct thing; it must be done in a right spirit, and with a pure motive. A good action is not wholly good unless it be done for the glory of God, and because of the greatness and goodness of his holy name.” –Charles Spurgeon
The state of our heart is of utmost importance as we practice spiritual disciplines. It’s possible to read our Bibles, pray, attend Lord’s Day worship, and even take the Lord’s Supper for all types of carnal reasons. Unless we do it for God’s glory, and our joy in him, it does us no ultimate good.
In three minutes, Steve Childers exposes the danger in learning the “how” of spiritual disciplines without the “why.” He presses us to examine our hearts as we resolve to read the Bible and pray more.
An inherent danger in spiritual disciplines is a propensity of the human heart to look to self-effort or practices or methodologies for growth. It is important to understand what is going on underneath the disciplines. What is the motivation for the discipline?
Picture two people running. What motivates each runner? On the outside, you can’t tell the difference. One of them may have an illegitimate, displeasing-to-God motivation, such as vanity. The other may have a good and virtuous motivation for running that honors God. The problem is you can’t tell on the outside.
This illustrates one of the greatest dangers of spiritual disciplines: learning how to run but not understanding why you run, or learning how to do things versus why we do them. So one of the most significant things in spiritual disciplines is understanding the affections of your heart. Is the motive Christ? Is the means Christ?
“One of the most significant things in the spiritual disciplines is understanding the affections of your heart.”
Take for instance, the proverbial quiet time. If you ask someone anonymously, or maybe on a survey, What do you really think? What do you really think is happening when you have your quiet time or when you don’t have your quiet time? I think most evangelicals actually believe they phase in and out of God’s love based on their performance.
Consequently, the quiet time often becomes simply a means by which they follow the discipline of reading Scripture versus a time where they use the Scripture to adore and worship God in Christ for who he is and for all he has done for them. But what is fascinating is: You can’t tell when you are just looking on the outside.
THE HEART OF SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES: ONE-MINUTE SUMMARY
The only way to make ultimate sense out of your story is to understand how it fits into the greater story of the purposes of God for the world. God takes great pleasure in pouring out His power on those who will dare to radically align their purposes with His. In the Lord’s Prayer, God presents us with a clear and compelling vision regarding His purposes for the world and for our lives in it. The history of Christianity as a global movement is rooted in the lives of countless ordinary people whose lives were swept up in God’s extraordinary purposes revealed in this prayer Jesus taught his followers.
What is God’s ultimate purpose for the world?
God’s purpose for creating the world and mankind is to glorify His name. Jesus gave his disciples a wonderful glimpse into this purpose when He taught them to pray saying, “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name” (Matt. 6:9). God’s ultimate purpose, for which we are to align both our prayers and lives, is for all creation and all the nations to bring glory and honor to Him.
How has God chosen to glorify His name?
Jesus answers this question for us in the Lord’s Prayer where he instructs us to pray, “May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt 6:10) Here we learn that God has chosen to glorify his name through the coming of his kingdom in such a way that causes His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. God’s name is to be glorified by His invisible kingdom becoming visible in every sphere of life.
How has God chosen to cause His kingdom to come on earth?
God has ordained that his kingdom come with transforming power into every sphere of life primarily through his church. God works through all kinds of institutions and people. But the church is God’s primary instrument for making His “kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10). The most biblical and effective way to bring the gospel of God’s grace to the world is through starting, growing and multiplying churches among all nations.
How can we be empowered to see God glorified and His kingdom come through the global advancement of his church?
It’s only by the ministry of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) through the power of the gospel (Rom 1:16). A deep understanding and appropriation of the gospel is absolutely necessary to have true passion and power for missions. What is needed today is a recovery of the gospel of the kingdom. The hope of this gospel is not merely our conversion but also our transformation into the image of Christ. Its purpose is not merely to forgive us, but also to change us into true worshippers of God, authentic lovers of people, and agents of gospel transformation in the world.
Our mission is to educate aspiring church leaders to start, grow, and multiply gospel-centered churches among all nations.
Find out more at: http://www.pathwaylearning.org