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What Are Spiritual Disciplines?
As a new believer, I didn’t know much about spiritual disciplines. I did what I thought would make me a better person, like praying for people until it became a natural habit. Over the years, I included more and more spiritual disciplines in my life. I don’t practice all of them all of the time. Rather, I choose to do some daily and others on occasion as the Holy Spirit brings them to my attention.
11 Spiritual Disciplines
There are many spiritual disciplines that you can incorporate into your life. Although this is not an exhaustive list, it includes the most common:
1.) The spiritual discipline of reading the Bible: The Spiritual discipline of meeting God in His Word is so important. In the Bible, God has revealed Himself to us: His mind, His Word, and His will. All Scripture is the very breath of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and through the Holy Spirit, we are able to understand what is written (John 16:13) and allow God to transform our lives. Faith comes through hearing the Word of God, and if there’s no Word, there’s no change (Romans 10:17). The Word pierces, changes, convicts, and converts a person’s heart. Reading the Word isn’t about checking a box on your list of to- dos. It’s about spending time with God. If you truly connect with God in an intimate and relational way, you WILL transform. He wants to meet you today, and you don’t have to make an appointment!
2.) The spiritual discipline of worship: In many churches, worship time involves singing, but it’s more than that, and it’s not limited to what you do in church. Worship is an expression of reverence and adoration of God. You can sing, dance, recite poetry, pray, and more. Worship is what I do every time I Bible journal or create art in my faith art journal.
3.) The spiritual discipline of prayer: Prayer is how we talk to God. We should persevere in prayer until the Lord answers (Luke 18:1-8). Sometimes the answer is yes, no, maybe, and not yet.
4.) The spiritual discipline of fasting: is abstaining from something (usually food) for spiritual reasons. Jesus fasted (Matt 4:2-4), and gave direction about how you should fast (Matt 6:16-18).
5.) The spiritual discipline of meeting together: We tend to think of fellowship as a social activity, but I encourage you to think beyond the social aspect and towards unity. It’s about being united as a body of believers, encouraging one another to follow Jesus (Hebrews 10:24-25).
6.) The spiritual discipline of service: There is no greater example of a servant than Jesus who “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). You have unique skills and abilities that God has given to you to serve others.
7.) The spiritual discipline of confession and repentance: Confession is an admission of sin followed by repentance. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
8.) The spiritual discipline of discernment: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). When it comes to discernment, the simplest answer can be had if you ask yourself, “Will this choice drive me into a deeper relationship with God, or will it drive me away from him?” If you don’t know the answer, search for it in the Bible and through prayer.
9.) The spiritual discipline of generosity: Generosity goes beyond money. It’s about your attitude towards resources (money, time, etc.) as well as how you manage the resources that God has entrusted to you. After all, everything we have belongs to God (Psalm 24:1).
10.) The spiritual discipline of witnessing: To witness means to profess Christ and to proclaim him. We must actively seek out opportunities to share the gospel (Mark 16:15).
11.) The spiritual discipline of rest: I still have to write Sabbath in my planner for Sunday. If I don’t write it down, it doesn’t get prioritized, and I end up working and not taking a break. I’ve also started saying the Word NO more than I have in the past. Over-commitment and running around in a chaotic windstorm isn’t healthy for me or anyone.
Today, the spiritual discipline of rest requires more intentionality than ever before. With technology, it’s easy to work hard 24/7, but it’s harder to sit still because, during the silence and solitude, God brings to the surface the things we need to deal with and, at the same time, restores what the world has taken away. Which spiritual disciplines do you focus on each day? Which ones will you consider adding to your practice?
2 Corinthians 4:16
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
1 Timothy 4:7-8
But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
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