This post continues my reflections on Dallas Willard’s book, The Spirit of the Disciplines. As a follow-up to yesterday’s post on disciplines of abstinence, here I look at two basic disciplines of engagement. These two spiritual practices, study and worship, are foundational to the active participation in the life with God.
In study, we are chiefly engaging with the Word of God. This goes hand in hand with solitude. As we draw away from others in solitude, we draw near to God through the study of the Scriptures. We feast on the riches of God revealed there and are strengthened.
David Watson captures this well:
If we feed our souls regularly on God’s word, several times each day, we should become robust spiritually just as we feed on ordinary food several times each day, and become robust physically. Nothing is more important than hearing and obeying the word of God.
Although study has the whiff of academic scholarly pursuit, it really isn’t like that. That said, it does involve much time and effort. It entails giving time and effort to meditation on key Scripture passages and reading the Bible as a whole. But the time spent there should keep us firmly rooted in the everyday realities of life with God.
As Calvin Miller says:
Mystics without study are only spiritual romantics who want relationship without effort.
“In worship we engage ourselves with, dwell upon, and express the greatness, beauty, and goodness of God through thought and the use of words, rituals, and symbols” (D. Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines, 177).
It is worth worshiping God because He only is worthy of worship. And we do so by fixing ourselves within His goodness and greatness.
Take a Scripture passage like Isaiah 6:3
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.
As we speak the words, we consider their meaning and speak them back through our own mouths in worship to God.
Worship is the place where we kneel down in humility before a great and good God, recognizing Him for who He is and gaining proper perspective on our lives.
What is your experience of study and worship, whether alone or in community, as means for connecting more deeply with God?