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Spiritual Disciplines - Growing Spiritually (Part 6)

SG

Here are some more spiritual disciplines ...

6. Solitude. Solitude is intentionally spending time alone with God away from people and from busyness or distractions. We choose to be alone. It is one of the most important and fundamental of the spiritual disciplines, especially if we are to do some of the other disciplines well. Jesus spent a lot of time in solitude throughout his life (Mt.4:1-2; 14:23. Lk.4:42; 5:15-16; 6:12). Jesus taught his followers to do the same (Mk.6:30-32). Take some regular time for solitude, preferably each day. Begin the day with some time alone with God. Take breaks during the day and end the day reviewing the day with God. It is also good to have occasional extended periods of solitude (half a day, a day or a few days throughout the year). Solitude is about withdrawing from conversation, from the presence of others, from noise and from the constant barrage of stimulation (phones, TV, friends, music, books, newspapers, etc). If we never pull aside into solitude we can tend to hide beneath the busyness of our life and never really find ourselves or God. As a result, our spiritual growth and development can be stunted. In contrast, when we choose to make time to be alone, solitude provides an environment for us to find ourselves and to find God in the deep places of our heart. We also gain clarity and perspective on our lives, our ability to plan is enhanced. Much growth and change can emerge from these times.

7. Silence. In silence, we close off ourselves from ‘sounds’, whether those sounds be noise, music or words. Silence can be frightening because it strips us as nothing else does, throwing us upon the stark realities of our life. It leaves us with just ourselves … and God (Is.30:15. Ecc.3:7. Ex.14:14. Ps.4:4; 37:7; 46:10. Hab.2:20). Silence creates a break from the world that is bombarding us. Silence positions us to listen to God. There is also the silence of ‘not speaking’. Talking often gets us into trouble. In the practice of silence we learn the value of words. James says, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (Jas.1:19).” Practice in ‘not speaking’ can help us gain better control of our tongues so that they don’t go off ‘automatically’ as much. It helps to create a ‘gap’ where we have more time to consider more fully what we’re about to say and the impact of those words (see Mk.14:61). It also allows us to stop managing the world and especially our appearance in the world. We stop trying to impress people with what we know and what we can say. Become conscious of conveying grace from your speaking. This comes from an inward quietness where you take time to receive from God things that will benefit those who are listening to you (Eph.4:29).

Part 7.