Spiritual disciplines like prayer, fellowship, service, study, simplicity, chastity, solitude, and fasting have proven invaluable to people desperately interested in new and fresh starts.
In 2008, I signed up for a Twitter account. I had been watching the development of that technology since its inception by Jack Dorsey in 2006. Twitter, the name selected for this emerging technology, was based on the definition of the term: a short burst of inconsequential information.
I wasn't really interested in transmitting short bursts of inconsequential information but I was keenly interested to learn how a new technology would be used, and who would be the users. To me it was similar to watching people talking on their cell phones. As the devices proliferated, their ubiquitous presence prompted the question, with whom are all these people talking?
It wasn't long until I had signed up as a follower of interesting and sometimes important people. Or at least their tweets were touted as important. So I followed tech gurus and tapped into the brilliance of leadership development specialists. And I followed theologians, pastors, football teams, coaches, and even a few politicians. My objective was to glean the wheat of knowledge and insight from the chaff of inconsequential information.
Imagine my surprise when one of the foremost leadership trainers routinely offered tweeted content that was apparently randomly selected from samplings of a book of quotations on the subject of leadership.
As we move through the days and months of time allotted to us by our Heavenly Father, may I suggest a better means of learning what you need to know in order to experience his purpose for your life?
It's going to take a lot more than short bursts of inconsequential information posted by someone who honestly may not know any more than you do. You need to touch the mother lode of wisdom, guidance, and direction: the Word, the Table, and the Community.
Spiritual disciplines like prayer, fellowship, service, study, simplicity, chastity, solitude, and fasting have proven invaluable to people desperately interested in new and fresh starts. Our spiritual father, John Wesley, suggested prayer, searching the Scriptures, and receiving the Lord's Supper as critical elements in the art of Christian living.
These actions, however, were never prescribed as privatized behaviors. They were, and are, a powerful combination of personal and corporate experiences that when taken together enable us to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord.
Steven Harper once wrote: "Wesleyan spirituality is about making disciples who are holy in heart and life - men and women who live in formative community that is developmental in nature (personal holiness) and missional in purpose (social holiness)." 1 There are three simple questions to pose as one moves forward toward God's calling:
- Is my direction toward God's plan, purpose, and objective for my life or away from him?
- Have I established an objective toward which I am straining every muscle in the pursuit of its accomplishment?
- Am I committed to specific, intentional actions to make my goal a reality?
Somewhere in my reading, I ran across the phrase, "Life needs you back." Perhaps this has never been truer than in these times. Ours is an age of satiety, the quality or state of being fed or gratified to or beyond capacity. It is easy to be engaged in so many pursuits that one feels like the man who got on his horse and rode off in all four directions at once.
The pursuit of holiness is a life-mending experience.
With its beautiful blend of personal, intentional, and corporate elements, it moves one toward him who is the Center, and from whom our wholeness flows. The world incessantly tweets short bursts of inconsequential information.
Make this truth the focus of your life: "This one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13b-14 NRSV).
David J. Felter