Ben Wulpi Understanding the Christian Faith Dr.

Bergler April 19, 2007 Spiritual Practices Final Report My two spiritual disciplines were having an accountability partner and practicing humility. These past couple months God has used these two disciplines to teach me a lot about myself, about others, and about Him. I can’t say that it’s been the most amazing two months I’ve ever had spiritually; in fact, some of it I’ve spent feeling not close to God at all. At times His teaching has been very discouraging to me, because He’s shown me a lot about myself, in all my inadequacy. But another thing I’ve learned is that God uses those spiritual “dry spells” to help us learn and to make us grow, so I’ve been learning to be thankful for those times, because they will be good for me in the long run. Accountability was my first spiritual discipline I chose. I’ve always felt some desire to get an accountability partner, because I liked the idea of someone that I could share anything with and they could share anything with me, and we would help each other to grow. In high school I was in an environment where that was a luxury hard to find. When I came here to Huntington, I was placed in a great spiritual community, where I have many opportunities for a person to hold me accountable. I chose my friend Peter, who is a fantastic Christian guy, because I felt that we were on a similar level spiritually. Peter was very willing to be my accountability partner when I asked him, and we were both very excited about the prospect. We would meet over lunch sometimes, or in one of our rooms, and just discuss what was going on in our

lives and how we were doing spiritually. We were both busy a lot of the time, especially Peter, because he was involved in theater, so it was hard to meet up sometimes, and we didn’t get to talk as much as I would have liked. Sometimes this was tough for me to share stuff that was so personal, because that’s not kosher in the environment I’ve come from. But it got easier as we went along, and if nothing else, it was just nice to talk about things going on in my life. Sometimes it felt awkward though. I felt like Peter sometimes felt obligated to share what was going on in his life, because I had asked him to be my partner in this. I really don’t think he minded, but sometimes when we really didn’t have much to share, it felt awkward because we felt like we should share anyways, this being a class project for me. I think one thing I’ve learned from this discipline is the value of Christian community. I think God meant for us to depend on Him first, and then our brothers and sisters in Christ. We need each other to grow, to see examples and be examples, to encourage and to serve one another. The other discipline I chose to work on was humility. This was a very interesting and rewarding experience for me. I started off praying for God to make me humble, looking up Scripture about humility (such as Philippians 2:3), and posting reminders on my desk to myself about humility. But God chose to take me a different route than the one I had mapped out. It was around this time that I was reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. In it, Lewis talks a lot about pride and humility. He defines humility as thinking of yourself less, and thinking of God and others more. He then points out that if you try to focus on having humility (as I was), it almost defeats the purpose of humility, because you are

keeping the focus on yourself. And if I’m in a situation where I think, “Hey, I’m being humble,” then pride—pride at my own humility—can appear. What I learned from this is that I don’t think humility is a discipline that can be practiced directly. Humility is a heart attitude that is developed, not a discipline that can be practiced. I can do many things that appear humble, but if I don’t have a humble heart while doing them, they mean nothing. Rather, humility is the byproduct of growing closer to God, becoming more like Him, and of love. I think humility is very closely connected with love, because the more you love God and love others, the less your focus is going to be on yourself. Jesus humbly washed the feet of his disciples. His love for them caused him to think of his disciples before himself. That is true humility. I think love would be a much better focus for my life, because if you think about it, love covers many of the virtues. All of the other fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5 can trace their roots back to love. In teaching me a lot about humility, God also taught me a lot about myself. Humility is the opposite of pride, which some say is at the root of all sin. So I then began to think about the nature of pride. I believe at the root of pride, that which is the cause of it all, is insecurity. The reason we want to have all these material things, have all the right friends, and be a cool person is because we are insecure about ourselves apart from God. When we do all this, it is our effort to try and exalt ourselves on our own, to find a sense of worth in material things, and this leads directly to our pride. So this led me to ponder my insecurity, why I need to counter it so heavily with pride. God showed me recently that I get much of my confidence from people’s acceptance or approval of me. I am at my

weakest when I don’t feel accepted. God showed me through this that I need to find my sense of worth only in Him, that security can only be found in Him. In conclusion, neither of my disciplines really turned out exactly how I envisioned them. But God chose to teach me through them in other ways. I doubt I will continue my accountability relationship with Peter, because we are both so busy that it is hard to find time to sit down and talk, and because of the awkwardness I felt was forced upon us. But we are still good friends, and there can be accountability in that, too. As for humility, I definitely will continue trying to learn more about the nature of it, and learn more about myself in relation to it. It’s been a continued prayer the past couple months for God to give me a humble heart and a heart of love. I believe He is in me, working to shape those qualities in my life, making them a greater part of my life every day.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.