Spiritual Exercises

Read: Psalm 23

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (v. 6)

A calendar above my writing table shows a mother duck venturing out from the weeds into a serene lake, followed by five fuzzy ducklings. The caption reads “Come, follow me” (Matt. 19:21). This photo illustrates the concept of living as apprentices of Jesus. Young ducks instinctively follow the example of their parents. I imagine that a duckling’s life is a series of lessons in becoming like mom and dad: diving for bugs; staying together for safety; watching mom while grazing in a puddle or crossing the road. We, too, need to step forward into a life of training with the Master and being spiritually formed.

Psalm 23 is another beautiful vision of a lifetime of spiritual formation. We learn to live simply and within our means (the spiritual discipline of simplicity) because our Shepherd will see that we have what we need. We learn to live within margins and without anxiety (the disciplines of silence and solitude) as the Shepherd leads us to green pastures and still waters. We learn that God is in charge (the disciplines of surrender and submission) as we follow the Shepherd down life’s paths, guided by his rod and staff. We learn to live in the present moment (practicing the presence of God). We experience the grace of God through life’s hills and valleys (the disciplines of prayer and worship). Our lifetime of training prepares us for life in the eternal kingdom. —Karen Bables

As you pray, cry out to God our shepherd, and ask him to lead you.

About the Author

Karen Bables is the retired Spiritual Director of Christ Memorial Church in Holland, Michigan.

This entry is part 10 of 14 in the series Introduction to Spiritual Formation