Exploring Spiritual Disciplines: Guidance
Christianity has always been a lifestyle centered around community. From the beginning until now, the assembly and gathering of the people has been the heart of the Christian life; although, it was perhaps more prevalent in the emergence of the church than it is now. Nevertheless, no matter how hard we have tried throughout history, we cannot practice Christianity on our own.
Ever since God led the Israelites out of Egypt, he has been guiding his people as a community. Foster places this discipline among the corporate disciplines for good reasons; not only does God guide us as a people, but we guide each other.
When we make decisions as a church, we are not just using logic and reason to try to follow the best path; we are (or at least, we should be) praying and listening for the Spirit to guide us into what is best for us. Our devotion to God’s guidance of us should be at the center of every decision we make.
Likewise, we should be using the wisdom of our community to help guide our own lives. When we go to the congregation for prayer, or seek out the advice of the elders, we are leaning into one of the primary goals of our community; a community that seeks to walk more and more in the footsteps of Jesus.
What we can’t allow to happen is let our own desires override the guidance of the Spirit. When we give ourselves over to being guided by the Spirit, we are forgoing what may feel like the most obvious choices and solutions. We are choosing to be lead as a community into the unexpected, and sometimes the unwanted. What guidance can do for us is break us out of our meandering, so that we are no longer treading water but are emerging into a new and exciting phase of life. The stagnation of our churches is often the consequence of trying to find human solutions to our problems rather than God-centered solutions to our problems.
Guidance takes work, and it asks us to devote ourselves as a people to prayer and listening. But when we do that, we can live a vibrant and exciting life as God intended.