A cell phone is a device that connects one person to another. Cell phones run on power. Because cell phones are portable, they run on power that is stored in a battery. Battery storage amounts depend on the capacity of the battery to store power. Power is supplied to the battery via a cord and charger. I’m going to talk about these two items together as the “phone charger.” A phone charger is necessary to keep a phone functioning as it was designed to function. A phone charger connects the portable phone to the unlimited power source and converts that power so that it becomes portable power inside of a phone battery. The conversion happens in the charger, but it gets to the phone through the cord.
One common problem with this scenario is that we misplace our phone chargers. We set them aside when our battery is charged because we don’t have a need for it. Sometimes, we forget where our charger is because we can’t remember the last time we plugged in. That’s why it is important to use our phone charger as part of our daily routine, with time set aside to recharge the phone battery every single day, instead of waiting for our phone to die and the charging becoming an emergency.
We are like cell phones. God created us to connect to one another—to be a human network that covers the world with God’s love by extending the power of His grace and peace to every human being on earth. But we are on Earth and not yet fully living in the Kingdom of Heaven, so God has given us portable power—we run on batteries, if you will. And we must connect regularly to THE power source (God) in order to stay charged.
Connecting to the Power Source requires a phone charger. For us, the phone charger can take many forms. We call them Spiritual Disciplines or Spiritual Practices. One of my favorite books of all-time is called Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth. It was first published in 1978 and has since been edited and reprinted close to 40 times. In the book, author, Richard Foster outlines the central practices of the Christian faith that help followers of Christ to discover an ever-richer spiritual life filled with joy, peace, and a deeper understanding of God. Foster divides the Spiritual Practices or Disciplines into three movements. It may be helpful to see these three movements as three prongs on a power cord. The first movement or prong includes the Inward Disciplines. Inward disciplines draw us into ourselves and offer us ways that we can examine ourselves and change. These inward avenues to the Power Source include prayer, fasting and study.
The second prong on our power cord includes the Outward Disciplines or Practices which help to prepare us to make the world a better place. The Outward Disciplines encompass simplicity, solitude, submission, and service. Though we can practice each of these disciplines alone, they are designed to transform us so that we are better able to transform the world.
Lastly, the third prong of the power cord includes the Corporate or “Body” Disciplines. These practices are done together with other followers of Christ as part of the body of Christ, or His Church. The corporate practices bring us both nearer to God and nearer to one another. The Body Disciplines are comprised of confession, worship, guidance and celebration.
James 4:8 says, “Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” The Spiritual Disciplines are our own phone chargers. They allow us to plug into the power source who is God. All three prongs of the charger must be engaged in order to give the cell phone battery its full charge. Go back and read the practices associated with Inward Disciplines, Outward Disciplines, and Corporate Disciplines.
Questions for Reflection:
- Are you plugging in all the way so that you are fully charged in your faith or connected to God, the ultimate power source?
- Are you out of balance in your charging?
- Are there any practices you would like to learn more about so that you could plug in for a fuller charge?
- Could you find a friend to practice with or hold you accountable?
Powerful and transforming God, you have promised us that if we draw close to you, you will draw close to us. Help us remember to connect to you regularly so that we can carry within us the charge to be about the connecting work you have given us. Let us utilize every avenue that we can to connect to your love so that we can share your grace and mercy with each person on this earth for the transformation of this world into the Kingdom of Heaven. Amen.