Spiritual disciplines like fasting, attending worship, and praying to name a few, teach us to live our lives in harmony with something larger than ourselves and larger than that which secular society values as ultimate. Living in harmony with God who is made known in Jesus the Christ is to live our lives from the inside out.
As we live life from the inside out, the spiritual disciplines keep us in the presence of the living and loving God. It is in these practices we learn to hear and respond to God's direction. It is in these practices we learn of God's love for us. It is also where our love for God is nurtured and sustained. However, remember each of us is unique and different which will cause us to structure and practice different spiritual disciples in an order that is helpful to us.
One of the benefits of the spiritual discipline of solitude is the potential for increased compassion or the ability to suffer with another's pain. When Paul talks about suffering with those who suffer he is talking about compassion, that supreme gift which helps make us fully human. From my perspective human survival is about having compassion. When we are confronted with a terrorist act, the breakup of a family, or a starving child what is our response? For some when confronted with helplessness we ignore the situation or seek not to feel. When we do this we deaden our capacity for love. From the Christian perspective, the cross stands as a reminder that love and suffering are two sides to the same coin.