Disciplined vs. Un-disciplined
It is good to celebrate one’s spiritual disciplines and another thing altogether to exalt them to a high pedestal in your mind. You are not living to attain spiritual discipline. You are living to love God with all of your heart. This teaching is something that I’ve shared recently with my pastoral team. I hope you will find it as helpful and encouraging as they did.
Disciplined: Some temperaments are naturally given to discipline and organization.
Un-disciplined: Some personality types live less disciplined but not necessarily less spiritual.
- The Personality Type – One’s personality type does not predestine some to live holy lives and others sinful lives.
- Your Personality is a Gift – You are unique in every way. Your personality with its tweaks and twists are a real part of who you are and the currency of all your relationships on earth.
- The Naturally Disciplined Person – The person that is naturally disciplined was not given a special spiritual advantage over another – they are both desperately in need of God’s grace to their personal lives.
- The Attributes God’s Looking For – There are three simple attributes that are not driven by skill but by your inner life, your heart. God is looking for LOYALTY from you. That you would ultimately keep to Him by making all decisions in light of your relationship with God. God is looking for FAITHFULNESS from you. Keep all the promises that you’ve made. God is looking for humility from you. He knows you’ll fail but He eyes are watching your response.
- The Metaphor of the Mountain –The long slow climb up the difficult mountain is the picture of your life. It goes uphill the entire way. One key characteristic is to keep on climbing and resting in a rhythm that considers safety and sustenance. Every person is on a different part of the mountain. Some of the slopes are steeper than others.
- Climbing is good – “A man is good when his will takes joy in what is good, evil when his will takes joy in what is evil” (St. Thomas). A good heart struggles, and climbs, and overcomes evil by continuing the climb. The person who sins in spite of themselves but does not love their sin is not a sinner in the fullest sense of the word but progresses in learning more about the depths of grace and responsibility.
- Emotional Spirituality – It would be absurd to think that emotion has no place in the spiritual life. It is a part of who you completely are. You are personality, temperament, emotion, and yet a whole person. Allow your emotions to love God.
- Gracefully Free – The goal of the spiritual life is not to deaden your emotions or humanity but rather set it free with a powerful and rich grace. God’s not looking to remove your humanity. He wants you to love Him through your humanity.
- The Holy Place Where God Lives – You are the holy place where God lives not the front of the auditorium at church. You are like a sacred temple, with the incense of gratitude burning or the stench of worldly love filling the atmosphere. Inside your own unique temperament and personality are a myriad of emotions that long to love God.
- The Management of You – The stewardship of your emotions and the desire for God leads you closer toward spiritual maturity.
- Gratitude vs. Ingratitude – There is no neutral ground between gratitude and non-gratitude. Gratitude and compunction are two powerful emotions that used to propel you into His presence.
Love—authentic heartfelt love—will produce deeper and deeper commitments and discipline will result. Yet, everything in the spirit-realm starts and ends with love. Love wins over discipline every time.
Sources: Thoughts in Solitude, Merton.