Christian Worldview January 24, The beginning of the year is a good time to reassess our spiritual practices, to make adjustments to the disciplines we already do, and to adopt new ones to help us grow in our relationship with God. In this article we will look at the largely neglected practice of fasting. Our self-indulgent culture does not see the point in fasting, and even many Christians put forward objections:
What are the spiritual disciplines?
Discipline is defined as "training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior. In fact, almost nothing of any significance in our lives is ever accomplished without it.
Spiritual disciplines can be described as those behaviors that augment our spiritual growth and enable us to grow to spiritual maturity. This process of spiritual growth and development begins to take place the moment a person encounters the risen Christ and comes to Him for salvation.
The purpose of spiritual discipline is the development of our inner being, that which has been transformed by Christ at salvation 2 Corinthians 5: Redeemed believers have experienced the total renewal of the whole person from within, involving differences in thought, feeling and character that may be slower to be evident in our outward behavior.
There are a number of popular programs and books today on the spiritual disciplines, but some go too far from Scripture in an effort to outline various methods of disciplining oneself. Some of these methods border on the mystical and the extra-biblical, sometimes delving into areas of Eastern mysticism, Catholic mysticism, and New Age philosophy.
The best way to avoid error in the understanding of spiritual disciplines is to stick with clear scriptural mandates given to all Christians to immerse ourselves in the Word of God wherein God speaks to us, and in prayer, whereby we speak to Him.
The foremost of the disciplines is that involving the Word of God and constitutes the reading, study, memorization, and meditation of Scripture.
If this discipline is neglected, no other effort to discipline ourselves will be successful because we simply do not have the power to overcome the resistance of the sin nature in which our new natures reside. Nor do we have the power to overcome the resistance of demonic influences whose aim is always to separate us from the only means of spiritual growth, the Word of God.
Paul reminded Timothy of the inherent nature of Scripture, that it is literally from the mouth of God, i. We must begin any effort at spiritual discipline with the only source of power, the Word of God.
Scripture memorization is also essential. We always have the freedom to choose what we place in our minds. With that in mind, memorization is vital. If we truly believe that the Bible is the Word of God, how can we not memorize it?
Memorization enables us to keep it constantly in the forefront of our minds, and that makes it possible to react to all life circumstances according to its precepts.
|Spiritual Disciplines | urbanagricultureinitiative.com||For me, that season was last summer. I came into the summer feeling out of sync with the Lord and not knowing how to get unstuck in my spiritual life.|
One of the most powerful passages of Scripture regarding the necessity of memorization is found in Joshua 1: Then you will be prosperous and successful. The second discipline is that of prayer. Our prayers are a spiritual communion with God through means of thanksgiving, adoration, supplication, petition, and confession.
The wonderful thing about prayer is that God meets us where we are. He comes alongside us to lead us into a deeper, more real relationship with Him, not motivated by guilt, but driven by His love.
Our knowing God really makes us want to conform to Jesus and His will for our lives. God slowly and graciously reveals Himself to us while we pray, and it is during those moments that we can more deeply understand and experience His love.
Of course, one of the major outcomes of disciplined prayer is answered prayer. But, in all truth, that is secondary to the real purpose of prayer which is an ever-growing, unending communion with God. Taken together, the spiritual disciplines of prayer and the Word will provide us with a rewarding program which will lead to godly living, praise, submission, service and celebration of our salvation and the God who provided it.The last two spiritual disciplines deal with our relationship to fellow man.
This is a horizontal relationship between a believer, the church and the world. When we faithfully attend church we fellowship with other believers. DONALD S. WHITNEY is the associate professor of spiritual formation at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri.
He is the best-selling author of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health, Reviews: Insights and Applications From The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard This Spiritual Disciplines List features some main disciplines for life in Christ with concise definitions for each.
Owing to the wide usage of the “spiritual” words, way beyond New Testament usage, the language of “spiritual disciplines” has likewise extended itself into arenas that are bound to make those who love the gospel more than a little nervous.
urbanagricultureinitiative.com on Internal Personal Disciplines. These are the spiritual disciplines that are activities the individual Christian should embark upon in order to develop him/herself as a . For the last two Sundays we have been thinking about spiritual disciplines – things that help us grow in the Christian life – and confession is a really important discipline, a habit that helps us grow.