SIXTH DAY: Why “Spiritual Discipline” is the Wrong Idea.


daily text logoJune 6, 2015

John 15:4a

Abide in me, and I will abide in you. 

The Sixth Day Exercise


Each week one of the seven questions of the sixth day exercise asks us to assess our participation in what has classically been referred to as “the means of grace.”

The means of grace consist of practices like prayer, fasting, meditating on scripture, conferencing with other believers and worship (particularly the Eucharist). Also included in the means grace are acts of mercy and service toward friends, family, neighbors, strangers and even enemies.

Often these practices get referred to as “spiritual disciplines.” I think “means of grace” is a better term. Why? Because disciplines puts the emphasis on what I’m doing or whether I did it. Means of grace puts the emphasis on what happened and particularly how I experienced the grace of God.

In the Sixth Day Exercise, we aren’t asking ourselves if we were faithful to do the practices or keep the disciplines. The question reads specifically: I experienced Jesus Christ through the means of grace this week. Then we are asked to scale our response from 1-4 for each of the listed means.

The point is not faithfulness to just do it. The point is engaging these means for the purpose of fellowship with Jesus. The means of grace are all about abiding.

“Abide in me, and I will abide in you.”

This whole Sixth Day Exercise is itself a means. It’s not about getting better or improving one’s score. It’s about deeper abiding. Small exercises like this keep us moving in the right direction.



P.S. Join the Daily Text Fasting Challenge. It’s 40 days, one day per week at a time, over the next 52 weeks. It’s a food only fast. Begins after supper on one day and ends at 4pm the next- 2 meals. Liquids fine. Fasting goes better together. I’ll send you a short weekly encouragement email if you register.– sign up here.

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J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at Get the Daily Text delivered to your inbox fresh every morning. Subscribe HERE.

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