Commandment vs. Closer To God

I thought of you when I read this quote from “Mudhouse Sabbath: An Invitation to a Life of Spiritual Discipline: An Invitation to a Life of Spiritual Disciplines (Pocket Classics)” by Lauren F. Winner –

“The Jewish practices I wish to translate into a Christian idiom are binding upon Jews. Jews are obligated to fulfill the particularities of Mosaic law. They don’t light Sabbath candles simply because candles make them feel close to God, but because God commanded the lighting of candles: Closeness might be a nice by-product, but it is not the point. Christians will understand candle-lighting a little differently. Spiritual practices don’t justify us. They don’t save us. Rather, they refine our Christianity; they make the inheritance Christ gives us on the Cross more fully our own. The spiritual disciplines—such as regular prayer, and fasting, and tithing, and attentiveness to our bodies—can form us as Christians throughout our lives. Are we obligated to observe these disciplines? Not generally, no. Will they get us into heaven? They will not. Practicing the spiritual disciplines does not make us Christians. Instead, the practicing teaches us what it means to live as Christians. (There is an etymological clue here—discipline is related to the word disciple.) The ancient disciplines form us to respond to God, over and over always, in gratitude, in obedience, and in faith. Herewith, a small book of musings on and explorations in those practices. Na’aseh v’nishma.”

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