Practicing the Way

Practicing the Way

With Practicing the Way, Comer has contributed to the rich library of books on spiritual disciplines in a fresh and whimsical way. HIs easy-to-read style combined with his ability to draw from deep wells of both ancient and modern thinkers, makes Comer’s work a delight to read. Comer has highlighted for us a goldmine of rich Christian practices (all of which combine to form a ‘rule of life’) that have served the people of God for centuries in their pursuit of Jesus. His simple layout of be with Jesus, become like Jesus, do what Jesus did truly gets at the heart of what following Jesus means.

The following quotes from each of the three main sections provide a glimpse into the meat of the content:

Be With Jesus: 

“This is the first and most important goal of apprenticeship to Jesus: to be with him, to spend every waking moment aware of his presence and attentive to his voice. To cultivate a with-ness to Jesus is the baseline of your entire life” (p. 34-35).

Become Like Jesus: 

“You cannot become more loving by <I>trying</I> to become more loving, no matter how much self-effort you bring to the table. … This isn’t to negate the role of self-effort: Self-effort is key to spiritual formation. There is a synergistic relationship between our spirits, or willpower, and God’s Spirit, or power. Self-effort and grace are partners, not competitors locked in a tug-of-war for glory. But the main function of self-effort in our formation is to do what we <I>can</I> do—make space to surrender to God via the practices of Jesus—so God can do what we <I>can’t</I> do: heal, liberate, and transform us into people of love” (p. 85).

Do What Jesus Did:

“If you are an apprentice of Jesus, your end goal is to grow and mature into the kind of person who can say and do all the things Jesus said and did” (p. 122). 

“Willard defined a disciple as someone whose ultimate goal is to live their life the way Jesus would live if he were me” (p. 122). 

Comer concludes with a chapter on how to discover and develop a personal rule-of-life. Using the metaphor of a trellis and a vine, Comer wants us to imagine a rule-of-life, or a particular set of spiritual practices, as a trellis that facilitates growth in our lives, providing a structure for our spiritual life to flourish. His heart as a practitioner and not merely a philosopher really shines here as he spends the last section of the book providing practical online resources for spiritual growth such as: a rule of life builder, growth courses, and much more. This will be a book that I refer back to again and again.