August has arrived, and that means school will soon be starting for children across the United States. Because of the beginning of the school, an annual ritual is taking place in every city, town, and community right now. School age children are buying their school supplies. Schools will give out lists for what the students need to purchase, and families will flock to stores to buy what has been requested. I have some grandchildren who have just gone to get their school supplies, and it was like a “scavenger hunt” as they read from their lists and searched through the supplies to find their items.
Preparing for what’s to come
Of course, most children enjoy picking out new notebooks, pens, pencils, folders, etc. they will need for school, but enjoyment is not the primary purpose for buying school supplies. The purpose for buying school supplies is so students are prepared for what is coming. Without the supplies, as one school day follows another, their ability to handle what they need to do will be limited and hampered.
Spiritual disciplines are much like school supplies for life. In the same way school supplies help students be prepared for the daily activities of school, spiritual disciplines prepare us to handle whatever comes our way in life. Just like a student having all his or her school supplies does not mean every school day will be fun and easy, there are no guarantees that life will always fun and easy because we practice the spiritual disciplines. It does mean, however, we will be better equipped to handle whatever comes our way in life each day than if we neglect the spiritual disciplines God has given us as our “weapons of warfare.”
Prayer, fasting, worship, journaling, studying, memorizing, and meditating on God’s Word are some of the spiritual disciplines God has provided to help us face the issues of life. Of course, a key spiritual discipline is one that is the end product of the others: obedience. Knowing God’s word and His will is critical, of course, but it is only helpful if we obey.
The difference between school supplies and spiritual disciplines is that school supplies are bought once a year. Spiritual disciplines need to be practiced every day. Life is a challenge in many ways, so let’s make sure we are prepared to handle whatever may come by engaging in the spiritual disciplines God has given us daily.