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What Are The Spiritual Disciplines In The Bible

Resolve To Form A Consistent Habit

Spiritual Disciplines 4 – the Bible

Spiritual disciplines can sound overly spiritual, and for some the sound of the term can be a turn-off. However, a discipline is the way in which I develop maturity through soaking in grace. I practice and engage in prayer. I meditate on a biblical passage, or I fast. The point is to engage with Gods grace, and to practice holy habits consistently, perhaps through a daily routine or an every-other-day practice. One way to learn a practice is to watch others who consistently model it.

So why devote my energy to a spiritual discipline? When we commit wholeheartedly to a spiritual discipline, we are laying aside selfishness, realizing personal time with the Lord is vital to our Christian life . We must remember that God owns our spirituality. Remember that salvation belongs to the Lord, from beginning to end .

Remember Your Union With Christ

I am joined to Christ. I am in Christ because of my salvation . He is with me. He will never leave me or forsake me. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation , and I no longer live for myself, but for Christ .

Theologians call this doctrine union with Christ. When you fail , remember that your position in Christ is secure, and you will persevere with the Spirits help. Throw off sin and aim toward Christ, the author and perfecter of faith .

Spiritual Disciplines On Groundwork

In preparing for this series, we quickly realized that this could easily become a very long series if we did individual programs on each discipline found in scripture. We also decided that covering the disciplines in categories pre-determined by one of the books mentioned above would mean not being able to discuss scripture and particular disciplines in great depth. So we decided to group some related disciplines and address others individually. We also decided not to focus on corporate disciplines like worship in this series because weve dedicated programs to that topic in the past . So, join us over the coming weeks as we explore the Spiritual Disciplines through the following episodes:

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The Ultimate Guide To The Spiritual Disciplines

What are the spiritual disciplines and why are they so important?

Search for spiritual disciplines and you will come up with lists ranging from a few practices to giant, enormous, book-length lists.

Youll hear people talk about prayer, Bible reading, silence, fasting, solitude, fellowship, and a bunch of others.

It can be kind of overwhelming, right?

Lets look at what the spiritual disciplines are, why theyre so important for your spiritual life, and how you can grow in them.

What Are The Spiritual Disciplines According To The Bible

Spiritual Disciplines: Bible Intake
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Spiritual disciplines are practices that exercise our spirit, mind, and emotions so that we become closer to God. Their purpose is to allow the Holy Spirit to transform us unto Christs image . Paul represented this process as taking off the old self and putting on the new, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator .

Through these disciplines, the Holy Spirit enables us to obey Gods commands . Paul admonished the church, work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose . These disciplines may be summed as follows:

Personal Disciplines

Bible Study and Meditation

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success .

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things

Prayer and Fasting

pray without ceasing .

Joel 2:12 Yet even now, declares the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.

Corporate Disciplines

Worship and Fellowship


Service Disciplines



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Spiritual Disciplines: How To Grow In Your Walk With Christ

Its tempting to believe once you become Christians, you will automatically know how to live a Christian life.

However, this is far from the truth. Like most things in life, you have to be taught and trained how to walk with God and live as his disciple.

In 1 Corinthians 9: 25 the Apostle Paul says,

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

If you want to finish the race, you must follow Pauls advice and start training.

Thats where the spiritual disciplines come in.

The Introverts & Extroverts Challenge

Some of these disciplines may come very naturally to you while others are more difficult. Introverts like myself are often much more familiar with the inward disciplines while extroverts usually tend towards the outward and corporate disciplines.

My challenge to you is to examine yourself. Look to see which of these areas need the most growth.

For the introverts I challenge you to try some of the corporate and outward disciplines.

Extroverts, I challenge you to try some of the inward ones. Pray into both and see where God guides you this week.

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Spiritual Discipline #: Meditate On God’s Word

Gods word is the foundation of our lives. In the Scriptures, God reveals himself and his will for us. If we want to know and enjoy God, the place to begin is Gods word.

Apart from the Bible, we CANT know what God is like.

We can see some aspects of God in nature and the creation, but we would never look at an oak tree or a butterfly and know that God is holy, sovereign or loving. We could never know what Jesus did to redeem us by hiking through the Grand Canyon.

We absolutely need Gods word, the only source of absolute, unchanging spiritual truth.

Heres what Scripture says about itself:

“Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts.” – Jeremiah 15:16

To eat Gods words means we take them in we hear Gods words or read them. And when we do this consistently and meditate on them Gods words become a joy and the delight of our hearts.

Thanking God Every Day

Spiritual Disciplines – Prayer – Bible Studies

I try to spend some time giving thanks before I start asking God for things. Its not a legalistic thing, I can pray first if I want to, but I think of Psalm 100:4:

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him bless his name!

One way I try to enter his gates with thanksgiving, is after spending some time meditating on Gods word, I usually try to write 1 page of things Im thankful for in a Moleskine journal.

I start with something like, O Lord God, thank you for and I begin to write. Its not usually anything deep. It might be as simple as Thank you for the sunshine, or Thank you that I got to spend some time with my granddaughter yesterday, or Thank you for another day of life.

Or I might thank the Lord for spiritual blessings, like, Thank you for saving me, or Thank you for paying for all my sins on the cross, or Thank you for giving me eternal life. I dont write for anyone else to read or worry about being profound, I just want to give thanks.

pray without ceasing .

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer .

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God .

Its hard to overstate the importance of this spiritual discipline for the Christian life. Prayer is simply asking God for help or strength or provision.

If you like, you can read it here.

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Spiritual Disciplines That Will Change Your Life

Search for spiritual disciplines and you will come up with lists ranging from a few practices to giant, enormous, book-length lists.

Youll hear people talk about prayer, Bible reading, silence, fasting, solitude, fellowship, and a bunch of others.

It can be kind of overwhelming, right?

Im not sure where the phrase spiritual disciplines originated. The Greek word in the New Testament usually translated discipline is paideia, which is used for the rearing of a child, training, discipline , and as far as I know, does not apply to what we call spiritual disciplines.

Why Does This Matter

There is not a definitive list of spiritual disciplines to which we may turn. Those who write on this topic all have a unique take on the natures and number of the disciplines. Donald Whitneys Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life lists 10 separate practices, whereas Richard Fosters Celebration of Discipline lists 12 and Dallas Willards book The Spirit of the Disciplines contains a detailed look at 16 different practices.

Not to be outdone, Adele Calhoun describes 75 separate disciplines in her Spiritual Disciplines Handbook. Some disciplines, like prayer or fasting, are common in all discussions, others are unique to the individual author. This can make spiritual disciplines difficult and sometimes confusing.

Despite this variety, we must remember that spiritual disciplines are not magic practices. They are simple activities that help us live in, and express, the presence of Jesus. If you wish to engage more deeply in the spiritual disciplines, but do not know where to start, a good place to begin is with Acts 2.

Here we read that the newly formed Christian community devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, the fellowship, the breaking of bread, and the prayers . These four practices became the foundation of the Christian life.

As the early Christians lived out these practices, the gospel began to spread throughout the world, and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved .

For further reading:

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Spiritual Disciplines #1 Study

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness

Of all the disciplines, none may be more important than the study of Gods Word.

Only through the instruction of the Bible can we understand the ways and the will of God. The theology and practice of every spiritual discipline is rooted in Scripture. Without the study of Gods Word, we cannot hope to grow spiritually.

Jesus knew Scripture better than anyone. As a boy, he amazed the teachers in the Jerusalem temple with his understanding . He quoted Scripture from memory when tempted in the wilderness . And he regularly quoted it in his teaching . He even began his ministry with a public reading from the book of Isaiah . Jesus embodies the Word .

Two Forces That Shape Our Thinking

Pin by Margaret Minnicks on QUOTES BY MARGARET MINNICKS ...

In Psalm 1, there are two forces that will shape our thinking: either the world or Gods word:

Blessed is the manwho walks not in the counsel of the wicked,nor stands in the way of sinners,nor sits in the seat of scoffers but his delight is in the law of the LORD,and on his law he meditates day and night.

We can either follow the counsel of the world or the counsel of the Word. Psalm 1 tells us that we should make Gods word our delight and meditate on it consistently day and night.

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Dont Complicate Bible Study

Even though casually reading the Bible works for many, the best practice for simple, yet successful, Bible reading is to use a plan. Consider these ideas to get started:

  • Read a book at a time
  • Read the Gospels or the Epistles
  • Read a chapter from Proverbs each day
  • Read the entire Bible chronologically
  • Follow an online Bible reading plan

There are many more Bible reading strategies available online. Choose one or a combination that works for you to guide your Bible reading. Once you choose a plan, turn your Bible reading into a time of deep study. Use biblical resources to look up words, people, and places and to understand the context of the Bible text.

Spiritual Disciplines #2 Prayer

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need .

Prayer is how we talk to God. When we pray, God listens.

Jesus taught many things about prayer. He warned against the prayers of hypocrites who make a show of their prayer, and taught us to pray humbly . God is like a good father who delights in giving good gifts to his asking children . We should persevere in prayer until the Lord answers , but we must have faith for our prayers to be effective .

Jesus also modeled prayer for us in his actions. He frequently sought to get away from the crowds to pray in solitude and silence .

Today, like Jesus, we should withdraw regularly for time alone with God in prayer. And whenever we gather with fellow believers, we should pray for one another.

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Why Is Spiritual Discipline Important

The fact is disciplines occur in all areas of human life. Disciplines are important because they help us grow in our Christian life. The more we engage in spiritual disciplines, the more our lives reflect the glory of Christ.

Have you ever questioned whether spiritual disciplines are appropriate, necessary, or even biblical? Isnt the language of spiritual disciplines nothing more than a modern fascination? It may appear this way at times, yet the fact is, spiritual disciplines are nothing new.

They have formed the way Christians have embodied their faith throughout the history of the church. Wherever Christians live, spiritual disciplines occur. This makes spiritual disciplines incredibly important for us today.

After all, many of the questions we have about our faith are not necessarily grand theological questions. For most people, on any given day, the questions we pose pertain to how our faith interacts with our daily lives.

We ask questions like Why dont I feel God with me all the time? or How do I develop a deeper prayer life? or maybe How can I recognize Gods voice? When left unexplored, these questions can easily cause someone to feel stalled or discouraged in their faith.

The truth is unavoidable if we want to live our faith with authenticity and passion, then spiritual disciplines are the way we do so.

If you wish to explore spiritual disciplines further, here are three important things to know.

What Are The Purposes Of The Spiritual Disciplines

Spiritual Disciplines #2 – Biblical Study

Ask me not where I live and what I like to eat. Ask me what I am living for and what I think is keeping me from living fully for that. Thomas Merton

There is very little meaning in physical exercises themselves jumping jacks or squats are just motions and muscle contractions their purpose is in what they produce: fitness and strength. Likewise, spiritual exercises are means to ends. Their meaning is not found in the practices themselves, but in the strength and growth they create in the soul.

The nature of this strength takes many forms , but generally include an increase in ones ability to:

  • Delay gratification
  • Forge good habits
  • Conquer the worst parts of yourself

Likewise, doing the spiritual disciplines out of a simple desire to improve the general health of the soul will certainly garner something of the intended effect. But this effect will be much smaller, and the disciplines far harder to stick with, than if they were approached with a higher purpose in mind. Its hard enough to find time in ones day for such habits when youre clear on their raison detre. Without one, activities that require discipline will assuredly fall victim to those that dont, like smartphone surfing and Netflix watching.

For many adherents of the Abrahamic religions, in which God has required his followers to practice good works, the higher purpose for the spiritual disciplines is obvious: to follow this command and live a life thats less sinful and more holy.

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Spiritual Disciplines To Strengthen Your Faith

Paul was one of the early leaders of the church, and he wrote much of the New Testament. In his letter to the Roman church, Paul talks about transformation. He tells his readers, Those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters . The process of being conformed to the image of Jesus is what followers of Jesus call spiritual growth.

Spiritual growth is Gods work. If you are a follower of Jesus, its an act of grace that transforms and changes you. But the fact that its the Holy Spirit who is at work in you doesnt mean you dont play a part. There are things you must do in response to the Spirit’s work to listen to Him and experience healthy spiritual growth. These things have traditionally been called spiritual disciplines.

Derived From The Gospel

A fifth description of spiritual disciplines is that they are derived from the gospel, not divorced from the gospel. Rightly practiced, the spiritual disciplines take us deeper into the glories of the gospel of Jesus Christ, not away from it as though we have moved on to some advanced level of Christianity.

The gospel is the ABCs. Now lets get into the really deep things of God: the spiritual disciplines. No, the spiritual disciplines are derived from the gospel, not divorced from it, and they only take us deeper into an understanding of the gospel.

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