There is a lot of talk about the importance of spiritual disciplines. Sermons are preached and books are written extolling the value of spiritual disciplines and the important role they play in the growth and maturity of Christians in their walks with the Lord. Although much has been said, there is obviously more to be said because many believers still struggle to develop deep intimacy with God.
WHAT ARE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES?
Spiritual disciplines are habits and practices which, when incorporated regularly in to our daily lives, will help us to be more faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. We will know Him more deeply and intimately, we will improve our understanding of His Word and our ability to hear His voice, and we will be better equipped to know and do His will every day. Spiritual disciplines deepen our intimacy with God, helping us grow spiritually and finish the course of our lives as disciples well.
A MATTER OF PRIORITIES
In theory, spiritual disciplines are not difficult to do. Read the Bible, pray, memorize scripture, fast, worship. These are all concepts we understand at least enough to practice them. Yet, I suspect many who profess to be Christian do not practice these simple things in any regular, consistent manner. As such, they remain ignorant to what the Bible says, often miss the voice of God in decision-making, and fail to be a fruitful witnesses for Christ.
The reality of spiritual disciplines being practiced all comes down to how we prioritize our lives. We know we need to read the Bible, but we prefer watching television. We know we need to pray, but our minds easily wander. We know we ought to fast, but we get a headache when we don’t eat. The list goes on and on, but the bottom line is we simply don’t make our spiritual lives a top priority. We probably say our relationship with God is our number one priority, but our daily allocation of time says otherwise.
HOW TO CORRECT OUR COURSE
Here are five simple steps to help you become a more disciplined disciple of Jesus:
Begin with Baby Steps. Even if you don’t do all you should, incorporate a small aspect of at least one spiritual discipline in your everyday life. Remember, something is better than nothing.
Set Realistic Goals. If you aren’t reading your Bible at all right now, don’t try to read for an entire hour each day. Set realistic goals and maybe start with a chapter instead.
Expect Difficulty. When we decide to prioritize our spiritual lives, we enter the realm of spiritual warfare. The enemy does not want us to be disciplined disciples. Fight for your time with God daily.
Find a Partner. Ask someone to be your “spiritual workout partner." Memorize scripture together, do a Bible study, and share what you learn. This will provide the accountability and encouragement you need.
Write Down a Plan. Don’t just hope to remember or find time to include spiritual disciplines into your daily schedule, make them a priority and write out your plan to practice them.
Intimacy with God comes as a result of God’s grace working in us and our daily discipline investing in our relationship with Him.
Which of these five steps can you do today? Which will you do?
by Jimmy Aycock