Monday, March 12, 2018

The Spiritual Discipline of Trying Stuff

I'm not sure about you, but I can easily be a pretty cautious person. I like to know what I'm getting myself into before I commit. I want to be able to weigh the risk and rewards before embarking on a new adventure. I like a predictable outcome. 

But that's not often how faithfulness works. When Jesus was searching for his disciples, he didn't hold job interviews and check references. He simply invited people to follow him. When asked, by one potential disciple, where Jesus was staying, his response was not passive and informational, but active and committing: "come and see." There's no room for deliberation, as the disciples don't get to cautiously ask questions and weigh their options. Heck, they don't even get to say goodbye to their families or bury the dead. They just lay down their nets and follow. They jump in with both feet, because faithfulness often carries an element of risk and adventure.

It's the spiritual discipline of experimentation. 

As I've been preaching the spiritual disciplines over the past month, I've been constantly reminded of how following Jesus almost always takes us out of our comfort zones and asks us to try things we aren't comfortable with. I preached on fasting this past Sunday, which is something I'm terribly uncomfortable with...and I'm sure our church is too. But the invitation is to risk giving it a try -- even if we hate it -- in an effort to connect with God in a deeper, more profound way. Jesus is always poking, prodding, and stretching us -- trying to take us from our place of ease and comfort to a place of depth and abundant life. 

And the spiritual disciplines are a fantastic way for us to move toward deeper spirituality and faithfulness, but they will require us to venture outside our status quo and try something new and potentially hard. So, in an effort to utilize the spiritual disciplines as a means to greater connection with God, let's be willing to undertake the spiritual discipline of trying stuff -- the willingness to take risks and experiment with new ideas and practices. Try something new. Experiment with a new practice. Read a book you normally wouldn't read. Watch a documentary instead of binge-watching that sitcom. Introduce yourself to someone you've never met. Have a conversation with someone you might disagree with. Work on being a better person and follower of Jesus. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with the blessings you find from those risks.

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