March 31, 2015

Put It Into Practice

Philippians 4:4-9

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

—  Philippians 4:9

We've reached the end of our study of the spiritually disciplined life. It's the middle of Holy Week. We've enjoyed Palm Sunday, and soon we will visit the painful, yet crucial, events of Good Friday, leading to Easter's unequaled joy. What shall we say today?

Two thousand years after these events, we rededicate ourselves to taking what we've learned and, as Paul wrote, "put it into practice." Our intentional and dedicated discipleship has never been more important. These are troubled times; the evil one has doubled down on his ­assaults on the church and on every follower of Christ (1 Peter 5:8). Life is perilous for people of faith.

What's the answer to the dangers confronting us? It's not to run. There's no place to go. We still must deal with our old nature (Ephesians 4:22). And we don't want to run from our Lord, who with grace and mercy saves us to enjoy new life with God forever. Salvation is not earned (Ephesians 2:8-9). We need to run to the Savior, the one who redeems us not only for eternity but for every day as we live with and for him.

By being spiritually disciplined every day we will put into prac­tice all that Scripture has to teach us. And by living dedicated and disciplined lives, we'll find ourselves embraced by the God of grace and peace.

Lord, today we dedicate ourselves to your discipline. Help us to live as you want each day. For Christ’s sake, Amen.

About the author — Norman F. Brown

Chaplain Norman F. Brown graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, in 1969. He served aboard destroyers during the Vietnam conflict and ashore in San Diego, Calif., as an instructor. By then God had made clear his call to work in pastoral ministry, and Norman entered Calvin Theological Seminary, graduating in 1980. Chaplain Brown pastored churches during his ministry career but spent most of his time as a navy chaplain. During one assignment he served three years at Holy Loch, Scotland, where he and his wife, Ruth, encountered the Iona Community and their emphasis on spiritual disciplines. Chaplain and Mrs. Brown have three married children and nine grandchildren.

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