You can’t follow Jesus without leaving something behind. If our problem is not simply that we are doing too much and being too little; if our problem is slightly more complex in that we need to stop doing somethings all together but do somethings more, than one of the greatest needs in the live of faith today is to get good at the discipline of surrender. You can’t follow Jesus without leaving something behind.
I was talking with another pastor today about the difficulty of discipleship in today’s culture. The difficulty is simply that no one has time. But that isn’t really the problem, everyone has time we are all simply deciding to invest our time in something else. But if those something else’s leave us unsatisfied, we hurry to the next thing and if we do a whole bunch of things that don’t satisfy our lives become full of hurry.
But remember the secret to eliminating hurry is not to eliminate doing, it is to invest more and more time in doing those things that ultimately satisfy our hearts. But how do we find those “doings” that will ultimately satisfy our longings?
Dallas Willard classifies spiritual disciplines into two groups, disciplines of abstinence and disciplines of engagement. I think it is the practice of the disciplines of abstinence that will help us identify the “doings” we need to undo and the “doings” we need to do. So we practice the disciplines of solitude, silence, fasting, chastity, and sacrifice. And in the midst of those abstaining disciplines we ask God to show us what he wants us to do.
So let me suggest a way to wrap up all those disciplines in one for a period of seeking God for “doing” wisdom. Make a (not) to-do list.
List 5 things (one thing in each category) that you will stop doing during the season of Lent (I know some of you thought this was leading to a familiar place.) This season extends from now till Easter. As you abstain from these “doings” ask God to show you the “doings” that will satisfy your “being.”
So pick one thing you will stop doing that will lead you to moments of friend-abstainence (solitude). Pick one thing you will stop doing that will lead you to moments of abstaining from noise (silence). Pick one thing you will stop doing that will lead you to sacrifice…etc.
- Maybe you will stop doing tv.
- Maybe you will stop doing your ipod.
- Maybe you will stop doing facebook or texting.
- Maybe you will stop doing guys night out.
- Maybe you will stop doing the novels.
- Maybe you will give up Spring Break.
Or maybe not… :) It depends on how different we want to “be.”