Daily Encouragement: Day 296

Adapted from Handbook to Spiritual Growth


If we fail to see spiritual disciplines and habits as responses to divine grace, we will slip into the trap of thinking that they have value in themselves. Those who think this way suppose that when they meditate or fast, they are spiritually superior to those who do not. Their disciplines become external, self-energized, and law-driven. They are tempted to quantify spirituality by reducing it to a set of external practices rather than an internal, grace-drawn process of transformation.

Spiritual growth is inside-out, not outside-in; our focus should be more on the process of inner transformation than on outward routines. This understanding will free us from thinking that the disciplines we practice are magical in themselves or that others should be engaging in the same activities that we practice. Spiritual disciplines are good servants but poor masters; they are useful means but inadequate ends.

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