Durable, Life-Giving Disciplines
A young Asian man sets a powerful example
Spiritual disciplines tend to sag under the heavy demands of everyday life. But those pressures drove one young man to go deeper. "Li" (not his real name) works about 13 hours a day, 7 days a week for his father in a major city of Asia. He comes from a broken, dysfunctional family. Soon after he opened his heart to Christ he attended a church where people were invited to come forward for prayer. He thought, "Free prayer . . . I'll take some of that!"
Li kept coming for prayer week after week, and those praying for him happened to be Navigator disciples. Soon he asked, "Would you teach me to pray for others like you have been praying for me?" Through that door "Alice" and "Mike" led Li to freedom from his sins and to learn how to walk closely with God. Soon the disciplines of fasting and confession and solitude grew in his life. Now he and his telephone prayer partners are not only encouraging one another daily, but are also boldly tearing down the spiritual strongholds afflicting their city and their nation.
Alice and Mike also taught Li contemplative Bible reading. Before long he was eagerly reading through his Bible every few months. His enthusiasm for devouring God's words is contagious. Recently he invited 30 of his coworkers to read through the Bible with him in 90 days. Even though none of them know Jesus yet, they did it!
One day Li ran up to Alice saying, "Look at these cards! They have Scripture on them!" He had discovered the Topical Memory System and a new way of touching his non-Christian friends. Li sees the Proverbs as practical samples of truth for those who don't yet know Jesus. So he gives packets of Proverbs to his friends and, even though they are not yet followers of Jesus, they are memorizing Scripture. As I recall, that's a lot like how the founder of The Navigators came to Christ.
Those who know Li don't find him buried under his difficult circumstances. Instead, they find durable and overflowing joy. They do not experience him wearing his spiritual disciplines like a badge. Rather, those disciplines become invisible compared to his passion for Jesus and the Good News flowing from Jesus through him.
Now the love and life of Jesus are flowing into Li's broken family. One of his sisters recently opened her heart to Christ and Li's father has started reading the Bible. The economy has been tough on their business. Around them businesses have been failing. But recently his father said, "It's a miracle! How is it that we are surviving? It's God!"
Li is living to know Christ, and to make Him known, and to help others do the same. Li is letting God's Spirit work deeply and gently within him (Ephesians 3:21, msg), and we can do that too.