Looking Outward and Living It

Spiritual Practices go beyond the work of God in our own lives. Our faith requires us to follow and live our beliefs. We participate in God's work as we live in a way that is representative of God's heart and his desire for our world.

Think of it this way, expressive spiritual practices are activities or ways we express our faith, hope and love in our world.


Essence of the Practice

Here is a list of what might be included in the Expressive Spiritual Practices:



  • Compassion -- feeling what others feel, extending mercy and help in extravagantly practical ways.

  • Control of the Tongue -- turning the destructive way of words into authentic, loving, and healing words.

  • Humility -- becoming like Jesus in his willingness to choose the hidden way of love rather than the way of power.

  • Truth Telling -- living an authentically truthful life by speaking in a way that does not exaggerate, minimize, deny, rationalize or manage the truth.

  • Justice -- loving others by seeking their good, protection, gain, and fair treatment.

  • Stewardship -- living as a steward of God's resources in all areas of life -- knowing that everything belongs to God.

  • Care of the Earth -- the practice of honoring the creator by loving, nurturing and stewarding his creation.

(Spiritual Discipline Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun)

As I write this list I wonder how, if ever, I can live up to this standard. Then I remember it's not a standard or a list, it's a result or by-product of being connected to Christ.

Jesus says in John 15:5, Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

It is through this living relationship with Jesus we can live as expressions of our faith in our world. In the illustration Jesus is using in John 15, God is described the gardener. I imagine it this way, my responsibility is to tend to my "soil" or soul so that God can work in and through me.

Making It Your Own:

How do I do this? I need be in scripture. I need to take time to process and journal my journey with God. I need a few trusted friends to process what we are finding and what God is doing in our souls. I need to be part of community of followers and participate in worship. I need to be stretched and fed by other followers and leaders. I need to spend time in nature and enjoy God's creation. I need to see the ocean and be at the beach at least once a year. (Okay, so I don't need to, I just love smelling the salty air, feeling the breeze off the water, curling my toes in the sand, and disconnecting from the list of things I have to accomplish when I am at home. Sorry, I'm missing the beach. :) )

When I keep my soul well cared for, my life is increasingly more expressive of God's heart. I begin to care more deeply about those things God cares deeply about.

Questions To Consider or BLOG about:

What do you do to tend to your soul?

How are you doing expressing your faith in your world?

Of the list above, which one or two do you desire to grow in?

5 comments:

  1. Unfortunately, most days I do not tend to my soul. I am too busy accomplishing tasks - work, house, laundry, even church. I struggle to find time to just be. My schedule keeps me from finding the time to be in the community who feed my soul and spending one-on-one time with God - or at least that is my excuse. I do enjoy reading scripture before bed but that is not enough. I appreciate this blog as it often reminds me that I need to stop once in a while and just be.

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  2. I have found that sometimes taking care of my soul is simply a matter of adjusting my attitude and living in the moment, being open to conversation with the Holy Spirit as I go about my day. The value of meditation, scripture, etc. is undeniable, but I might also commune with God while folding tee-shirts! Often I even have to do this attitude adjustment at church and let myself rest in Him IN THAT MOMENT, forgetting about everything else that needs to get done.

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  3. I think we can all agree we find ourselves in similar places as both heather and "anonymous".

    Just today I decided to slow down a bit before I began reading and responding to emails. I grabbed my journal and my Bible -- Then sat down without my computer and focused on some time w/ God -- And God literally refreshed my heart and mind.

    What I mean by this... I was wondering about the week I have already had -- and I needed a simple reminder to keep on going and keep on leaning into God for strength and endurance in the midst of doing life. The words I will think on today... come from Isaiah 61:1-5 -- combined with Ephesians 6:10-19. :)

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  4. It can be so hard to have ME time or GOD time but I have found that when I struggle the most, is when I realize that I have been neglecting my God time. People think I am crazy, but I usually get up at 4am to pray and read my daily devotionals. I need that time to get my head on straight for the day. Without it, it is like I have no guidance for the day and my patience runs low. Don’t get me wrong, there are days I over-sleep, and miss my God time @ 4am, and if I do, I really struggle to find the time to slow down and go back to Him. I have good intentions… The other thing I realized was that God didn’t really care where I was. I have gotten better about giving Him time in the shower, in the car or even during night-time prayers with the kids. Without Him, I get lost easily.

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  5. I was really struck by the blog. I was struck by the others' comments about not taking the time to give God my time. Then I was struck by how sad that is. I know that when my soul is not well cared for I am struggling in all that I do - unsatisfied with my life. I need to find the time to tend to my soul. I agree with God not caring where I am - I also fold clothes and pray. I must spend more time tending to my soul!

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