Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Spiritual Walk

A few weeks ago I wrote about abandoning my daily devotions and the guilt that had come with that action in the past. I talked about finding a new way to connect with God and promised that as I explored these new pathways, guided by a book on the topic, I would share my journey with you.

Recently my pastor preached on prayer in Matthew 7 where Jesus promises that “everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” God promises that he will be found by those who seek. What a reassuring and timely message! Just when I am embarking on a quest to find intimacy with God, my pastor preaches on seeking and finding. I can only assume he has been reading my blog (It may also have something to do with the fact that he uses a preaching calendar and the Holy Spirit is speaking to me on Sundays).

With that reassurance, I was eager for my book to arrive, and it did arrive last week.

The book is Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas. By the time I finished the first chapter, I knew I had found the right book. “Many Christians have found the traditional quiet time to be somewhat helpful in starting up a life of devotion but rather restrictive and inadequate to build an ongoing, life-giving relationship with God.” But going deeper with God doesn’t mean following a set prescription. We are all different, God rejoices in our diversity and rejoices in the diversity of our worship, “Good spiritual directors understand that different people have different spiritual temperaments, that what feeds one doesn’t feed all. Giving the same spiritual prescription to every struggling Christian is no less irresponsible than a doctor prescribing penicillin to combat every illness.”

Thomas gives 9 spiritual pathways which I will explore one by one. As I said in my earlier blog–feel free to take this journey with me. My goal is to do about three a month so that this series is wrapped up at the end of summer. I am going to follow the order he uses in the book. I will describe the sacred pathway, give examples of people in the Bible and Church history who have used this pathway, tell what specific actions I took, and reflect on how it did or did not affect my spiritual walk.

Naturalist: Loving God outdoors

Sensate: Loving God with the senses

Traditionalist: Loving God through ritual and symbol

Ascetic: Loving God in solitude and simplicity

Activist: Loving God through confrontation

Caregiver: Loving God by loving others

Enthusiast: Loving God with mystery and celebration

Contemplative: Loving God through adoration

Intellectual: Loving God with the mind

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