I always loved to visit Grandma and Grandpa when I was a kid.  It was a great place to be.  They lived in the country, and I was a city boy, so there were always new and exciting things to do.  Grandma was a fantastic cook.  They would let my brother, Matt, and I do things that mom and dad wouldn’t let us do at home (like wrestle on the bed).

But, perhaps, the most exciting and intriguing thing about our visits for two young boys was Grandpa’s secret stash of contraband neatly hidden on the top shelf of the guest bedroom closet.  Firecrackers.  Bottle rockets.  Fourth of July splendor any time we visited.  Matt and I could spend hours seeing what tremendous explosions we could create by wrapping several of those Black Cat firecrackers together.

Occasionally, we would get a dud that would burn the fuse out but fail to explode.  We would take this dud and unwrap the paper to discover a tiny amount of black powder.  We would try to touch a lit match to it, but would only get a small fizzle at best.  It was amazing to realize that such a small and seemingly trivial amount of dust could cause such a loud bang.  Yet, as that powder was tightly wrapped and contained and combined with a little fire, it would ignite and explode.

The spiritual disciplines are a lot like that small amount of black powder.  

They can seem like trivial exercises that sound nice when we talk about them in church, but not important enough to rearrange our lives to make them fit.

“God will understand that we are busy with more “important” and tangible things,” we think to ourselves.  But here is the thing.  The spiritual disciplines may seem like trivial exercises, but they are so much more.  When they are bound up into our lives with a passion for knowing and following the heart of God, his Holy Spirit can ignite our lives to become powerful and explosive for his kingdom.

How is it with your prayer life?  

Are you immersing yourself in God’s living Word?  Are you engaging in Christian conversation and accountability with others to further your growth in Christ?

If our lives and our church are to be vibrant expressions of God’s kingdom, then we must include the black powder of the spiritual disciplines and watch as God ignites us.