Want to be spiritually powerful, employ constraints.
My last post was a precursor to this one; a brief introduction to the power of using constraint and limitation. You can find it here.
What we call the spiritual disciplines are also simply constraint, yet applied to the deepest parts of our inner person.
Physically we know the power of constraint. Focus on running, pour yourself into the martial arts, spend your time devoted to hockey, (but not all), and you will become a champion in your own right, if not literally.
Relationally we employ the power of constraint and limitation all the time. It is why we marry, and why we make choices of these types of friends but not those types.
In education we create constraints. Limiting access eliminates those who want a free ride, or who are not as serious as others. Ensure there are hoops to jump through and those who really want it, will be the ones on the other side.
Spiritually speaking, constraint works the same. It is why we have the disciplines and simple good habits of, taking a day of rest for instance. Limiting our work days to six ensures we are rejuvenated and restored on a regular basis.
Fasting is a prime example of a spiritual discipline. Fasting invests in something we cannot see, asks for favor we can barely touch but know we need, and joins into a work of God and of Spirit that barely makes sense, but invest we will anyway.
Prayer also, focuses our thoughts and worries and gladness in one concentrated conversation between ourselves and God. By coming into constraint of thankfulness for instance, of limiting our focus to that which we are thankful, creates a powerful catalyst for more of the same. Sow thankfulness reap thankfulness.
Spiritual Authorities work the same way. The question might be asked like this – How big is your sword? Constraint as spiritual discipline is the work that proves one can handle spiritual authority.
For the bigger the sword, the less it is swung. The bigger the sword the stronger one must be to swing it. And the bigger the sword, the wiser one must be in the swinging.
Constraint proves this. Constraint ensures this. Constraint enters into powerful work without flippancy, without jumping ahead and without random actions. Constraint proves our character and our habits.
A person without constraint, we call a wild-card. A wild-card cannot be completely trusted. A wild-card runs ahead, then lags behind. Always out of sync with those round about, a wild-card makes a mess out of time, money, energy, integrity and choices. To name a few.
Spiritually speaking, a wild-card is someone who has authority but who runs out of sync with God.
The difference – Constraint. Constraint not employed and we have anarchy and chaos. Constraint employed, and we have well-fashioned inner persons, employing well-fashioned constraint through all parts of their life.
The spiritual disciplines hone our walk and work alongside God. Constraint fashions us into someone useful in the Kingdom of God, where we become partners in setting things right on the earth.
How might you grow your spiritual authority today? Enter into constraint.
As you read this I am on my way to Uganda for some days of leadership development and spiritual training for rural Pastors in a village 150km west of Uganda’s capital city of Kampala.
Constraint is applied over and over again in these spiritual works. Constraint becoming a natural course of the rhythm of spiritual work. My days prior to this trip, my inner person was quieting down. Deep inside I was hunkered, waiting, preparing, garnering the energy necessary for the work to come.
And now, the reality of about 30 hours of travel is a welcome opportunity of continued investment in the constraint of a work to come. The to-do list has been completed, the preparations are finished, the backpack has been packed and packed again, and now the hours of silence and of physical stillness only adds to the work.
I am thankful, and glad you are joining me for the journey.