Scot McKnight in 40 Days Living the Jesus Creed refers to spiritual disciplines as a “new fashion” for Christians (p 96). Is that what they are? Maybe the latest “fashion” for “in the know” and “in the vogue” Christians. We will try them on and wear them for a while until a newer “fashion” comes along. Over the last several years there have been many books written addressing spiritual disciplines and spiritual practices. The ongoing conversations these books provoked have benefited many people and I count myself as one of those who has benefited from this discussion. But I sometimes worry that we can become so enchanted by spiritual disciplines we lose focus on what is essential.
Scot McKnight speaks to this problem when he writes, “We can practice spiritual disciplines for three different ends: We can do them in order to convince ourselves that we are pious, we do them to gain the approval of others, or we can practice them in order to love God and others more. They can be self-absorbing, and other-absorbing, or they can be God-pleasing. God designs spiritual disciplines to increase our love for him and for others. Spiritual disciplines that do not result in living the Jesus Creed [loving God, loving others, loving self, Mark 12:29-31] are done for unworthy ends.” (p 97)
Do you think he has named the test any practice of spiritual disciplines must pass?