Spiritual Disciplines 003: The Mindset for Christ
Welcome back to the Spiritual Disciplines blog post series. So far, we’ve covered The Call for Training as well as The Mindset for Value. If you haven’t read those yet, you may want to begin there. There is one more mindset needed for the spiritual disciplines: The Mindset for Christ. You see, it’s not enough to just want to train – in Christ’s kingdom, you also have to want to train for the right reason.
In those first two posts, we began to look at 1 Tim 4:7-10. Paul continues in those verses to say, “For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.”
There is a mindset here that is agonizing over spiritual growth, but in the process, my sight is not on myself. Paul says, “to this end we toil and strive” – there’s an intentional focus here to our toiling and striving – a reason for it. This is not just a self-discipline to accomplish a task list, there is a mindset of purpose here. So what’s the purpose? “because we have our hope set on the living God.” We toil and strive for godliness because our eyes are on God and we want more of him. I want Christ. He is my greatest hope. He is my greatest need. As we discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness, our sight is set on Jesus. Our hope is set on the living God.
There is a mindset that is fixated on Jesus Christ himself. Like a runner in a race, I’m not looking at my shoes or my shirt. I have my eyes on the finish line, running hard. I am “running with endurance…. looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Heb 12:1-2
Whether you want to call this Christ-centered, grace-motivated, gospel-driven, or spirit-empowered, the truth is the same. Christ’s work in us to bring about growth does not negate our discipline in sanctification, it empowers it. He fulfills it. And as we look to him amidst our striving for holiness, he motivates it.
If you really want to jump into this for a bit, take some time to sit down with your bible and look up Romans 15:18; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Philippians 2:12–13; Colossians 1:29; Hebrews 13:20–21; and 1 Peter 4:11. Sit down and just start making notes about how spiritual growth is pictured in these verses.
In the end, it all boils down to this: these spiritual disciplines, these “habits of grace” are about knowing more of Jesus, seeing more of Jesus, and enjoying more of Jesus. Not about earning his favor. We do this because we have already earned his favor and now we want more of him. It’s all about Him, and our mindset as we practice the spiritual disciplines needs to reflect that. We must constantly see past all the tasks, past each little action or discipline, and remember why we're doing it all: to know him more.