Why a University Practice?
The University Practice is an integral part to your spiritual formation as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Discipleship is not limited to one single activity, but rather, we have a responsibility to continue to practice discipleship in our daily lives. The University Spiritual Practice is one way we can encourage each other in our lives as disciples. Discipleship involves practice and with it we are better equipped to live the life to which Christ has called us. When we commit to healthy spiritual patterns, both individually and in community, we prepare ourselves to be ready for God’s work in and through us.
Each year at APU, we choose a spiritual practice(s) to focus on for the year—a practice rooted in the themes of Scripture and utilized for centuries by the Christian church to foster relationship with God. By focusing on a particular Spiritual Practice(s) each year, we expose students to diverse practices that foster spiritual growth which leads to maturity. Practices such as prayer, scripture study¸ worship, service and witnessing are just a few examples of how we encourage these practices to become part of the daily life our students. This year’s Spiritual Practices are centered on Spiritual Practices Related to the Virtue of Humility.
The Virtue of HUMILITY
In John Chapter 13 as the disciples gathered with Jesus for their evening meal, Jesus being aware that his mission was coming to an end demonstrated a unique lesson.
vs. 4-5: “…so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”
While they were in awe of what He was doing, Jesus demonstrated servant leadership through the act humility. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says that, “his act of humility actually cleansed their hearts of selfish ambition, killed their pride, and taught them the lesson of love.” This lesson in humility relates to us today.
In a culture that celebrates vanity, humility is a virtue that is of rare value. Humility stems from the Latin word humilitas which can be translated as humble, submissive or insignificant. According to Adele Calhoun in the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, “Humility stems from an honest understanding of who we are.” She goes on to say that humility, to a Christ-follower, is “to become like Jesus in his willingness to choose the hidden way of love rather than the way of power.” Jesus both demonstrated and taught humility in scripture.
There are many ways we can encourage our campus community to live out humility. Our personal goal should be (like Christ), to both exemplify this virtue but is also to encourage others in the same direction. Below are graces that allow us to practice engaging in humility:
Practices Related to HUMILITY
Secrecy is practicing the spirit of Christ reflected in hiddenness, anonymity, lack of display and the holding of confidences. In secrecy we desire to follow the simple and often hidden way of Christ.
In accountability we desire to give a regular and honest account of our choices, priorities and temptations to a godly and wise companion who points us to Christ. Through this we open ourselves up to God within the safety of his love so that we can authentically seek transformation. Confession in accountability embraces Christ’s gift of forgiveness and restoration while setting us on the path to renewal and change.
In compassionate confrontation we desire to become a healing presence of Christ to others through resolving conflict or misunderstandings. Through compassion we feel with and for others as well as extend mercy and help to them in extravagantly practical ways. We can practice respectful confrontation, and reframe assertiveness and conflict.