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Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

Updated: Dec 3, 2023


Navigating through this life can present its own sets of challenges as life is full of ups and down, right and wrong choices, constant influences from outside and inside, all of which are sinful at the root. The Christian life requires that the believer truly devote themselves to knowing God. Spiritual Disciplines are a great way to strengthen our faith in God and our relationship with him. Of the four that will be listed none of these are mandatory and most of these are not required daily. What we do requires quality and intention and we do not become more spiritually righteous by doing more. The Lord knows the position of our heart and what we have the capacity and time for. Without delaying any further, these is my personal list of four spiritual disciplines that will greatly benefit the believer.

 

Satan devotes 168 hours a week trying to deceive you. Do you think you can maintain a renewed mind with a ten-minutes glance at God's book once a day?

-John Piper

 



Prayer


For many Christians this is an easy one to notice as it is probably said a lot in church and by your parents, if they were Christians, growing up. Some would say prayer is the means of requesting things of God and others would say this is an improper view of prayer as we are not to ask God to align to our will, but we are to align to His will with the vehicle of prayer. Let's face it though, life is complex and what kind of God so committed to his creation would ignore the pleas of his people? After all, the prayer of a righteous man has great power as it works (James 5:16-18). With this said, if you are someone who doesn't know how to pray there is never a better time than today to learn with a prayer guide. This aligning of the will and request of the Christian can be an idea that exists together as we see Jesus states if we ask things according to his good name, he will certainly do it (John 14:14). This concept is reintroduced within the New Testament book of James which states, "You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." (4:3). Lastly, the Christian can see that God will give us wisdom if we ask him which should be something we want, and true wisdom will put the world and eternity into perspective aligning us with God's heart. Like stated previously, of course we also align ourselves to God's will in prayer. Jesus taught s to pray that the Father's will would be done (Matthew 6:9-13). Our ultimate goal of this lifetime is to be more like Christ and Christ was overall thoroughly joyed to do the Father's will. Why do we expect that the result of our sanctification would look like anything other than this? As we come to the Lord in prayer whether it be to request something, align ourselves, or simply be thankful it postures us to a position of mindfulness. We are taught to always pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17) because the wicked world we live in, and our own sinful heart is always influencing us. As we drift away throughout the day prayer is like the anchor that keeps us next to God.



Scripture Reading


If you are a Christian without a Bible, I strongly encourage you get a Bible! How can we know God without it? As we must pray to request, be thankful, and align ourselves with God we must also read so we know what it is God would have us ask for, be thankful for, and what is God's will that we should align ourselves to it. How do we know God without his word and how do we know what Christ has done through us unless we read? It has often been said that the Bible is God speaking to us and our prayer is us talking back. In other words, we inhale scripture and exhale prayer. Both of these are absolutely necessary for living the Christian life just like inhaling and exhaling is necessary for physical life. After we see who God is, our only natural response should be prayer. Additionally, there are many false teachings in the world whether it be from other religions that tell us Jesus is not God or from the secular mind who would say all roads lad to heaven. They preach tolerance of everything but the idea of one path leading to heaven. How are we to know what the wrong teaching is to avoid unless we know what the right teachings that we ought to cling to? Scripture will also convict us of sin. We will learn of God's goodness and grace and of our sin and short falling and in being sanctified we will be pulled to a conviction that leads to changed behavior. Lastly, the word of God is what we have in this world to know Him and sometimes we read for no other purpose than to spend time with him. Sometimes going into scripture with no specific purpose such as teaching, learning doctrine, or scripture memory but to simply spend time with the God who loves us can bring us the best nourishment for our soul.



Singing and Worship


In my honest opinion, every Christian should be reading their Bible and praying every day; however, while worship as we traditionally think of it may not be as necessary as the previous two disciplines it can yield a great benefit. Thankfully most Church at least in America incorporate singing at least once on Sunday morning for the service and will sometimes do it again on Wednesday night for the youth group. However, music can have ways or expressing our emotion and thought in ways much deeper than simply speaking in prayer. Singing and Worship does not have to be confined to how we may think of it with joyful songs of God's goodness. It often can be that, but God has commanded us to sing to him (Ephesians 5:19; Psalms 95:1). Just like our rejoicing in him is praise, our songs of sorrow can also be praise. Although we may not be saying "God is good" our hearts are weeping in trust and in faith that God is ruler over all, even our various emotions. I don't always sing out loud but put the music on with my speaker and meditate on the words and join in with the writer's declaration. Yet in all of that we submit it to him, and music allows us to when word won't find their way out and we may not have the capacity to read scripture. All of this is glorifying to God and as Christians that is our goal.



Evangelizing


Evangelizing is a calling of every Christian with no exception. When Jesus gave the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) he gave no exceptions to it. If we are convinced that the great gift of salvation we have been given is truly great then we will want to share it. One good sign of being closer to God is wanting others to share in that experience and know Him too. If for no other reason, sometimes we must simply act in obedience. Also, as we spoke of before there are many false teachings in this world and many people are not convinced of the good news of Christ nor are they even aware of it. All different religions and faiths are not simply a different version of the same truth. There is one unique truth given to us in the word of God and only Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). When we evangelize we are acting in love and there is no better way to love than by demonstrate it. Love will compel us to move through the fear and stage fright, through the unknown and the presumptions, through persecution and hatred. A Christian will experience all these things if they tell others the good news, because while the other disciplines can happen in private, this discipline will directly challenge people's way of life. Jesus did not hesitate to come to us to teach us repentance and his grace and forgiveness. Modeling after him we need to likewise resist any hesitation to present the Gospel to the unsaved. If you are someone who is uncomfortable with speaking publicly as it is an acquired skill, Gospel tracts are a good option. You can leave them places for people to pick up and see that presents the Gospel in a very basic and time efficient manner. I have seen these before and while some may make me cringe a little in the presentation, some of them are quite good.


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