Disciplines? Sounds harsh. Sounds tough. Usually used in a negative or punishing manner. But in the right context can be beneficial.
Spiritual disciplines, simply put, are practices that promote spiritual growth in the life of an individual or community of believers in Jesus Christ.
Borrowing from Richard J. Foster, the 12 classic spiritual disciplines include: prayer, fasting, study, meditation, worship, service, submission, confession, guidance, simplicity, solitude, and celebration.
This is not a to-do list. This is not a checklist. This is not a self-help guide.
These spiritual disciplines are simply activities that Christians participate in, whether naturally, scheduled, or otherwise. Most importantly, spiritual disciplines do not earn us favor with God or act as a measure for spiritual success. They are exercises which equip us to live fully in and with God now, during our earthly lives.
8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:8 ESV)
A life with Jesus is more than just a set of beliefs that one believes. A life with Jesus changes who one is and ultimately changes what one lives for and how one behaves.
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
Whether you need “self-control” or just need to take a step back and review your time spend with God each day, I would like you to evaluate your spiritual disciplines. Your time spend with Jesus. Your life with God.
Pray. Spend time in His Word. Praise and worship. Fast. Seek solitude. Serve others. Love others. Be present in your community.
Intentionally make time for God in your daily life. Intentionally make time for others in your daily life. Whatever is on your heart today, that you fee needs more attention in your walk with Christ, do it. Begin with a small goal, and start towards it.
Make time for Him.
Love God. Love Others.
(I plan on periodically blogging on spiritual formation and disciplines, offering insights from my studies, my personal life, from books, or from other people that have shaped my view of the disciplines/formation.)