We need to learn to live in the landscape of the spiritual disciplines if we are to discover who we are becoming in Jesus Christ. It is not a particularly new proposal but it is one that has not received much attention in our present culture.
I call the spiritual disciplines the landscape of Spiritual growth because it is not uncommon for some to mistake them for the means by which we grow spiritually. That role is reserved for God's Spirit alone. So, the goal of all spiritual disciplines, like feeding on scripture, listening in prayer, spending time in silence and solitiude, and serving others, is that they put us in the place where, if we are attentive, we have the opportunity to meet with the living God.
Think of it in this way, if you want to see the stars, you have to go to a place where the stars are going to be visible. While they are always there, you won't see them if you stay inside, you won't see them outside at noon, nor will you see them on a cloudy night. But if you make a habit of going outside at night, at some point your discipline will be rewarded and you will see stars.
So it is with the spiritual disciplines. God's people have long recognized that the Spirit has worked powerfully in the vicinity of these practices. Our participation in them doesn't guarantee us an experience of God, but, if we are consistent and attentive, we not only put ourselves in the places where God's Spirit has been known to show up but we also make space for the Spirit to do transforming work in us which awakens us to recognize God's presence and power in our lives.
Cal Macfarlane is a professor at Briercrest College and Seminary. He has a PhD. in Theology, and an interest in poetry and pottery. Cal serves as honorary assistant at St Aidan, Moose Jaw.