This month we are looking at Spiritual Discipline. I’m giving you fair warning, this is post is longer than my usual, so please stay with me to the end. A result of Spiritual Discipline is renewal. 2 Corinthians 4:16 says, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” (KJV) The Christian Standard Bible (CSB) puts it this way, “Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.”
What is Spiritual Discipline? My friend, Tracie, says that Spiritual Disciplines are Christian practices that promote spiritual growth, and she listed 11 Spiritual Disciplines that will help us in being renewed in our Christian life. 1. Daily Bible Reading 2. Worship 3. Prayer 4. Fasting 5. Meeting together or Fellowship 6. Service 7. Confession and Repentance 8. Discernment 9. Generosity 10. Witnessing 11. Rest. Each of these helps us in maintaining a closer relationship with God, and as such, we find renewal in our lives and thereby we grow in the knowledge and admonition of the Lord.
When we incorporate these disciplines into our lives, we find that we are encouraged. Our world today is filled with discouragement, even fear, and the first reason is that they don’t know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. If we haven’t asked Him to be the Lord, Master, King, and Savior of our lives, we can easily become full of fear and discouragement. Without a relationship with Him, for some, life is hopeless, and the world becomes a very dark place.
The Apostle Paul is telling the Corinthians in our Scripture that even though he and the First Century Christians are going through persecution (verses 8-9) they are not discouraged; they don’t give up. He tells them they are being renewed daily. That comes through employing Spiritual Discipline in our daily walk with the Lord.
The discipline of daily Bible reading helps us to show us who God is. He reveals to us in His Word what His heart and desire for us is. God tells us that He desires that none should perish (John 3:15-16), He speaks of His love for us (Jeremiah 31:3), and He tells us what is His will for us (Jeremiah 29:11.) The Bible is the Living Word, His very breath (2 Timothy 3:16-17.)
Worship is a Spiritual discipline that encourages us and draws us closer to God. Worship comes in many forms – acts of service, music, dance, artwork, prayer…all are expressions of our reverence, love, and adoration to the One who loved us and gave His life for us. (Galatians 2:20)
Prayer helps us keep connected with God. Without daily communication with the Lord, our relationship with Him becomes stagnant. It helps to remain close to Him. It’s like with married couples, sometimes, without daily communication between husband and wife, the relationship falters. Daily communication with Jesus keeps our relationship with Him stay fresh and alive.
Fasting is a Spiritual Discipline that requires sacrifice. Fasting doesn’t necessarily mean food (although quite often that is how it is associated.) Some may fast from other things that would keep their focus away from Christ such as too much television or video games.
Fellowship with other Christ-followers is something that we need because it helps us to become a unified body of Believers and we can encourage and uplift each other to live for Christ. Being part of a body of Christians is beneficial in hard times and in times of great rejoicing.
Service is a Spiritual Discipline often exhibited by Jesus. He presented Himself as a servant when we washed the Disciples’ feet. He said that He “came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45 NASB) God gave each of us many gifts and talents so that we may serve others. The talent or gift we have could be just the thing to uplift someone who is discouraged.
Confession and repentance are needed to keep our lives pure. We confess our sins and repent so that we can keep our relationship with God clear of those things that would cause a break in that relationship. 1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (KJV) Keeping a daily watch on our shortcomings helps us keep short accounts with the Lord.
Discernment is a discipline that helps us in many ways. We use discernment in knowing whether someone is speaking the truth, we use it to make decisions, there are many things where discernment is a tool to help us remain close to God.
Generosity is a Spiritual Discipline that encompasses more than just money. It can include time spent with others, acts of kindness, love, etc. It also includes being a good steward of the resources that God gives us. Through us, it shows forth the love of Christ to others.
Witnessing is something many Christians tend to shy away from because they think they can’t talk to someone about Jesus face to face. Witnessing isn’t just speaking to them about being a Christian, it’s also living a life before them that honors God. However, if we don’t tell them about Jesus, who will? As we live a God-honoring life before them, we must also explain why we live the way we do. (1 Peter 3:15)
Rest is a Spiritual Discipline. Spiritually, resting in Christ frees us from the anxieties and cares of life. Physically, He made it a command. (Exodus 20:8-11) If God rested on the seventh day, it must be a priority! He didn’t create us to run nonstop. Over-commitment brings about exhaustion and isn’t healthy for us physically, emotionally, or Spiritually. Even Jesus took time to rest. Rest leads also to renewal in many areas of our lives.
Let’s cultivate Spiritual Disciplines in each of our lives so that we can become effective Believers in leading others to Jesus, and to find renewal Spiritually. I challenge you to take time today to evaluate what these disciplines and make them a part of your lifestyle.