by Major Lesa Davis, Territorial Secretary for Spiritual Life Development
If we get our spiritual lives right, everything else will fall into place, right? It sounds so simple when you say it, but I believe the answer is yes. We are spiritual beings. Everything we do comes from our inner lives. As Christians, that inner life is shaped by faith in a Triune God who created us, loves us and shapes us into the image of Christ. As we cooperate with that process, we naturally order our priorities around our life with Jesus, and life with Jesus is never boring.
Spiritual life is not passive. Obviously, it is important to believe the right things, but spiritual life is a lot more than just thinking correctly about Jesus. Spiritual life requires action. Think about the kinds of things Jesus said to His first followers.
• Leave your family business and follow Me.
• Give Me your lunch so I can multiply it and feed 5,000 people out of it.
• Forgive each other—multiple times.
• Love your enemies.
• Sell everything you have and give the money to the poor.
• Take up your cross and follow Me.
• Go and tell the whole world about Me.
These actions aren’t natural to us. They can only happen if our lives are fully committed to Jesus and fully submitted to the Holy Spirit. If we get that right, we won’t have to worry about having nothing to do.
Part of my appointment as territorial spiritual life development secretary is to help Central Territory Salvationists explore and understand what a fully formed spiritual life looks like daily. Obviously, there are many facets to spiritual life, but I believe there are three top priorities: prayer-shaped lives, personal and social holiness, and all-consuming discipleship.
If I had to choose just one thing for every Salvationist to do, it would simply be to pray. Prayer is the key to spiritual life and the key to every part of the Mission Imperative. Prayer energizes everything we do. It is like oxygen to our souls. Without prayer, we will not—in fact, we cannot—achieve any part of our mission. Faithful, disciplined prayer will always lead us to faithful, disciplined action.
Secondly, I believe we must rediscover our heritage to Wesleyan holiness in every dimension of life, both individually and corporately. Holiness teaching and experience is a hallmark of our Salvation Army history, but I sometimes wonder if we have forgotten our own doctrine of holiness of heart and mind. As Salvationists, we believe the Holy Spirit can empower us to live victorious lives free from the guilt and power of sin. The work of the Holy Spirit can and will transform us personally, relationally and socially.
The result of our prayers and our submission to the Holy Spirit will be an all-consuming lifestyle of following Jesus wherever He leads. We will not fear our cultural differences but embrace them because we will see Jesus in each other. We will go to our cities because Jesus will lead us there. We will reach young people because Jesus is already drawing them to Himself. We will recognize leadership potential in people of all ages and cultures because we will see them as Jesus sees them.
If we get these things right, we will be well on our way to fulfilling our mission as Christians and Salvationists.