John Ortberg’s manuscript, The Life You’ve Always Wanted: a spiritual disciples for ordinary people, published in 2002 at Grand Rapids, Michigan. Ortberg tells us the pathway in rejoining our connection to God, which allows us to have what our heart’s desire, the life we have always wanted. He describes it through spiritually disciplined. Ortberg (2002) defines spiritual discipline as “Any activity that can help me gain power to live life as Jesus taught and modeled it” (Ortberg, p. 48). Spiritual disciplines are simple; they help me live in the fruit of the Spirit.
The spiritual disciplines discussed in this book are celebration, slowing, prayer, servanthood, confession, receiving guidance from the Holy Spirit, secrecy, reflection on Scripture, developing your own rule of life, and the experience of suffering. To practice celebration we need to celebrate and be joyful about the life we have. According to Ortberg (2002), we need to find joyful people to be affect by joy, which can be found in children living a “Dee Dah Day” and “often it is the people closest to suffering who have the most powerful joy (p. 8)” We also need to practice the art of slowing and practice of simplicity.
When we are in a hurry, we tend to cut out time with God that deforms the effects that God has on our life, our purpose. Through the authorities and commands of God’s will we as Christians shall morph and have a hope of transformation or change through conviction and optimum hope for conversion. Ortberg 2002 “relays the ideals of training for proficiency and living as Jesus did on Earth.
To become better at prayer we need to set up a time and place in peaceful solitude, which set limits for ourselves that we will not break. To practice servanthood, we need to do good as good Samaritans would without prideful gestures or recognition to be satisfied, because it was to the uplifting of God work and his people. Which is to love and will be rewarded for in Heaven. Confession as a spiritual discipline requires steps: training, self-examination, to become aware. To be able to ask why and what happened, having a new feeling, and making a new promise.
In preparation, we ask for the Spirit’s help through prayer and consecration. We examine ourselves to find the sins in our lives. We ask for a new insight of our sins and alternative for worldly habits. We then need to ask why we sinned and what the consequences for our action of sin were. We then start to have a new feeling about the sin through a transformation conviction. We adopt a new assurance about our sin. “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.
Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” (Eph 1; 13, NIV bible) We need to receive guidance from the Holy Spirit as a spiritual discipline. We need to not only speak to God but also to listen (Ortberg, 2002). God can speak directly to us. “God speaks not only to, but through us”. (Ortberg 2002, p. 153) We also need to practice secrecy. We need to stop living for others’ approval. We need to reflect on Scripture to become closer to God. The Bible can transform our lives if we let it.
We need to develop a rule of life. This is the way we live source of our morals. The last discipline is the experience of suffering. Ortberg (2002) uses the story of Abraham and Isaac as the sacrifice as an example. We need suffering to grow and learn more about God. Suffering is never easy but it can be beneficial. Concrete Response Consistently throughout this book, The Life You’ve Always Wanted, Ortberg (2002) speaks about the “core change,” transformation from just living to having a substantial life with God.
I recall a popular television series that still airs in its ever-changing modified form, the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers. He ends the final discipline with “It’s morphing time” (Ortberg, p. 222). The existence of a physical change miraculously happens within. The Power Rangers were approximately five teenagers that have been chosen by a wizard or God like character named “Zordon”, his right-hand man “Alpha 5”, and nemesis “Rita,” The Earth was in a foul condition threatened by its nemesis and her laborers. With the discovery of five “power” coins, fruits of the spirit.
Alpha 5 searches for “five overbearing and emotional humans” five teenagers with attitude. He recruited Jason Lee Scott (red ranger), Zack Taylor (black ranger), Kimberly Hart (pink ranger), Trini Kwan (yellow ranger), and Billy Cranston (blue ranger) morphing into the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers holding a power unthinkable and known to be as unbeatable with the trials of conspiring. Zordon acted as a mentor and advisor for the team, revealing Zords, equipment and useful information whenever the time was right.
The “Green with Evil” fifth-partner demonstrates just how important Zordon was to the team. Rita used her Power Coin and brainwashed another character, Tommy Oliver, into being the evil Green Ranger, with his first task being sabotaging Zordon’s connection to the Earth’s dimension. The Rangers and Alpha were unable to contact him for some time, which made matters more difficult for them. It was only when Alpha re-established contact with Zordon that the tide began to turn in the Rangers’ favor and Tommy was freed from Rita’s influence becoming the sixth ranger and “good,”
I believe that this series is very symbolic and can be parallel to the spiritual and physical realms that are actuality and present. Zordon as God, Alpha 5 as Jesus, Rita as the Devil and Power Rangers as “good” creations with the fruits of his Spirit and guidance of God. “The prayers of the righteous is powerful and effective” (James 5:16, NIV bible). The world was in desperate need of a savior; believe a prayer was spoken and answered on the show as well can be paralleled to the answer in real life.
The good man always wins, even though at times there were struggles and manipulations, through guidance and development of their gifts the world would be saved. We have to believe in our full power as creations of God to actual come into all the power of his gifts he bestowed in us. Reflection I feel that this book is a very good resource. I do have questions about the book though. If we were using this to help people in counseling, how do we know when they are ready? For myself as I read this there were parts that really did hit home.
What if our clients or we are not ready to face what is in this book? How do we move ourselves closer to God? He does give us some ideas but what if we cannot accept them yet or are unable to understand the concepts well enough to follow them? How do we learn from this book and take what we have learned on to the next phase of our lives? How do people learn to lean on the Holy Spirit for the guidance that they need to move closer to God? Will this work with a person who is not a Christian but is looking for God?
Will the seeker be able to understand this book well enough to use the concepts in the book to grow closer to God? If the person is not a Christian and refuses to even consider that there is a God, how do we help them since this book will not do them much good? What is the next step after this book? Action My mission after reading this book is trying to incorporate the spiritual disciplines into my life. I am starting to study self-forgiveness so that I can learn to forgive myself and move on from the things that I blame myself for. I will continue working on strengthening my connection with God.
After I have taken care of myself then seek guidance to mentor my clients I would advise them to read the book for a helpful guide and resource to reach a plan of action. I would present the importance of our happiness through spiritual warfare. God will be there for if you will let him. Relationships with each other and with God are imperative to work on. This book will allow us to learn how to grow in relationship with God and then God can help us grow in relationship to other people in our lives. I think that this book is a great resource for all Christians and I will suggest it as a good read.