Personal Mission Field/Preparation
...the good of your soul should take precedence over the good of your body.
- The Rule of Ailbe (Irish, 8th century from an earlier ms.)
...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.
- 1 Timothy 4.7, 8
Keeping fit is big business in America. Health clubs; fitness centers; fitness equipment, trainers, and DVDs; fitness foods - a billions dollar industry. Americans work hard to keep their bodies fit. And, certainly, there is some value to that.
Do we as Christians work as hard to keep our souls in shape? Are we applying ourselves, through all the disciplines prescribed in Scripture, to renewing our hearts, purifying our thoughts, and rooting our values and convictions in the Kingdom of God?
My impression is that, for perhaps most Christians, spiritual fitness is a little like gym class. Infrequent meetings where you do as little as possible, and then only what you consider to be fun.
But the soul needs a lot of work. The law of sin still lingers there, and it inclines us to things hurtful to our souls. If we neglect to strengthen our hearts, minds, and consciences through daily interaction with the living Christ in prayer, meditation, reading, and waiting, then we're setting our souls up for a kind of sclerosis in which growing spiritually becomes harder and harder.
If Christianity is true, then the soul is supremely important, not just to be saved for eternity, but to be sanctified and improved in the present, so that we can live for Christ as long as we do live. Celtic Christians were very serious about disciplining the soul. They embraced every spiritual exercise that promised to keep them focused on Jesus, and they spread their disciplines throughout the day, feeding their souls with more energy and effort than they did their bodies.
And, let's face it: they accomplished a good deal more for the Kingdom of God in their day than we are in ours. They sacrificed more. Studied more. Endeavored more. Prayed more. Led more people to Christ. Formed more Christ-like communities and culture. And impacted more pagan peoples than we are. Is there something to learn here?
Disciplining the soul begins in desiring to grow spiritually, and then takes the first steps toward doing so by carving out the time - every day - to meet the Lord in His glory. Here is where real spiritual and personal transformation occurs. If we want to grow in the Lord, we will make a point of devoting more attention to the care and nurture of our souls.
Where will you start? How will you begin to know more deeply and consistently the glory of the Lord transforming you heart, mind, and conscience, increasingly day by day?
Today at The Fellowship of Ailbe
Christians are being undone by pornography. But there is an antidote, and today's ReVision will tell you what that is.
Watch this space for news about a new monthly opportunity for pastors. The Pastor's Cafe is coming soon - a place to learn, make new friends, share your ideas, and gain some resources to further your walk with the Lord and your ministry. More next week.