The Purpose and Power of Spiritual Disciplines

The true efficacy of spiritual disciplines is not their power to bribe God but their usefulness in opening hearts to the perception and exercise of His power. Spiritual disciplines enable those made righteous by Christ’s work to breathe more deeply the resources that God freely and lovingly provides for the wisdom, joy, and strength of Christian living. Through disciplines, we inhale more deeply the air God provides for the Christian race, but such disciplines do not produce or maintain the oxygen of God’s love…. Disciplines become regular refreshment for those who hunger and thirst for ever deeper fellowship with the God they love (Ps. 19:10). The same disciplines, however, will become distasteful duty or bitter pride for those who think that their devotion keeps them on the good side of a God whose measure of love is determined by the grade of their performance.

Brian Chapell, Christ-centered Preaching (Grand Rapids; Baker Academic, 2005), 293.

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