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Spiritual Disciplines: What Are Spiritual Disciplines?

By November 6, 2019 No Comments

When you see the word discipline, you ultimately think of a means of conditioning to be better by means of sacrificing something that you do, that you love, or that you are used to. How discipline is described in the bible is described as the instruction of the way that one should go. We are known to discipline children and pets, but we too can expect ourselves to be disciplined as students, employees, friends, and even parents. But according to the book of Hebrews 12:5-11, we are all the Lord's children, and thus, we warrant discipline.

Discipline has been highlighted best in the Bible on Timothy 4:7. Each copy of the Bible may have different wording, but what Paul basically tells Timothy is “discipline yourself to inherit godliness.”. What he meant by discipline in the original text is to train, practice or become fit, as the Greek word “gymnazo” is used, which translates to “gymnastic” in English. In Timothy 4:7-8, Paul then says “physical training is valuable, but godliness has value in all things. Like athletes who discipline themselves for physical ability, we also need to discipline ourselves to strengthen our souls for the Lord.

There are many ways in the Bible that the Lord and his people teach us how to grow spiritually, and such concept gave somebody the idea to name all these instances and name them “spiritual disciplines”.

What Are Spiritual Disciplines?

Spiritual disciplines are basically ways in which we can be holy and closer to God, not by action, but rather behaviors and how we “discipline” ourselves. Rather than being told what is right and wrong, we are meant to change habits and perspectives so that we know by instinct to identify right from wrong, do what is right, and avoid what is wrong.

Spiritual disciplines are described as different ways in which we can be close to the Lord, whether by sacrificing, putting others and the Lord before ourselves, or resisting sin and selfishness.

Where Did Spiritual Disciplines Come From?

There is no complete set of spiritual disciplines like the Ten Commandments. You cannot find such a list of disciplines in the Bible, either. The spiritual disciplines have been conceptualized by early Catholic and Orthodox churches for how to tailor their people to have strong spirits to appease the Lord.

Depending on where you look for spiritual disciplines, you will find different disciplines in different amounts. Churches tend to have unique or their own versions as a means to teach followers in their own ways.

If you are looking for some examples of spiritual disciplines, we have come up with a list of disciplines, both for abstaining and engaging in the Lord and his people.

Fasting

This may seem like a peculiar discipline. Fasting is what it sounds like; the resistance of eating food. Why we fast for the Lord, though is for spirituality. Fasting teaches us to learn self-control, and not just by resisting food. We also fast to think more clearly, making us more attentive to the Lord and people who matter to us. Fasting is not about God bending His will to ours, but bending our will to His. If you need a tip to help fast, eating fish can help you feel full and will cause you to resist eating more. Jesus also has an association for fish, such as the ichthys symbol, which allowed two men to draw two halves of a fish in the sand to let each other know of their faith without talking about it out loud.

Sabbath

According to Genesis 2:3, the Lord created everything in six days, and then rested on day seven. The Sabbath day is known as the day of rest, and nowadays, we need more discipline than ever in order to do so. God says that rest is good, but rest is not what we should do too much of. According to Jesus, the need to help people does not take a rest, so it's important to still be there to those who matter to you on Sundays.

Solitude

Solitude is considered something that doesn't seem achievable to the common man, and it may sound like solitude actually isolates us from family, but solitude is a way to escape all the noise and distractions in our lives so that we can put more attention on the Lord. Solitude isn't about being alone, but just to allow yourself to have a moment with God. Pray to Him, talk to Him, use the time to embrace Him. You don't necessarily need to be alone, either. Dedicate a place and time to be alone with God in peace and quiet. If can be a room in your home, it can be your Church, or it can be a place outside that's quiet where you are able to collect your thoughts. Setting aside two hours a month to be in solitude with God is a great way to bolster your spirit and become disciplined. Solitude is considered a discipline that may enhance other disciplines, as well.

Submission

Also known as confession, you can submit to God privately, with a trusted follower, or in public. All forms of confession and apology are acceptable to God, even if nobody is present to hear from you. Even though Jesus had never sinned, he is an integral part of confession. Without his death and resurrection, we wouldn't have God's grace and forgiveness. While sinning all makes us human, forgiveness is another thing we need from God in order to strengthen our soul for him.

Prayer

It's not possible to grow as a follower of God, but also never pray. While you can be a believer in God and not pray, your relationship with him can be dormant and stagnant. Prayer is how we communicate with God. We talk to him and he listens. Jesus has taught us how to pray humbly such as in Matthew 6:5-6. According to Luke 11:9-13, God is like a charitable father who gives us wholesome, good gifts when we ask for them. Pray selflessly, gratefully, and persistently so that you can continue exchanging thoughts and answers with God.

Fellowship

We tend to think of fellowship is social interaction with friends and family, but it is meant to be more than that. Fellowship, however, doesn't happen at random. Fellowship is meant to be a collective group of followers who all bask in the Lord's glory. In order to retain a strong faith, we all need friends and family worshiping the Lord in unison. Jesus lived in unending fellowship with the Lord, like with his disciples, and this is the basis of our fellowship with God today.

Worship

When we worship at church, many people assume that it is the same as single, but there is much more to it than that. We can actually worship anywhere, whether at church or in our own homes, wherever there is a reason to worship. When we worship God, we are acknowledging his goodliness, righteousness, and worthiness. To worship God means to admire all of his accomplishments. Worship is basically a focus of God's endless worth.

Service

According to the Colossians 3:23-24, we are all serving the Lord. When we work, we are meant to do it for God, and not for our bosses. Knowing that we work hard, God sees that we are all handsomely rewarded. To humble ourselves before the Lord, we have to act as servants for Him. If you need an example of one who served God greatly, look none other than for Jesus. Jesus had proved that the greatest are those who serve and put themselves last.

How Can I Have More Spiritual Discipline?

I may feel like an incredibly daunting task to remember each and every discipline, but we do not advise you to do so. it doesn't require knowing and memorizing all these disciplines in order to embrace all that is good, much like the Bible. Instead, here is what we suggest if you want spiritual discipline.

First, you can consider choosing one or two disciplines that you like the most and simply live by them. Whether you want to find God more through prayer or encourage fellowship among your peers and friends, each discipline can be considered its own path to you becoming a genuine person. The question isn't can you be a good person, but rather in what ways can you be a good person.

Second, you can consider simply living the way that you do now, but make decisions that the Lord would make. Help others, be charitable, don't hold grudges, call your family so they don't feel abandoned. Attending church is also a great way to find inspiration, or if you manage a church, you can teach others about spiritual discipline.

Third, you can figure out what you want you to improve in your life, whether it be your attitude towards others, your relationship with your family, a new-found habit of being lazy, business at church, or whatever you want to change for the better. You can find a discipline that can help you with a problem or two that you have and also get closer to the Lord. All in all, the answers to your questions can be found or recited to you from the Bible.

Conclusion

Spiritual disciplines are helpful ways in which you can become bolster your soul and improve your relationship with the Lord. Discipline in any form requires commitment and sacrifice, but when all is said and done, your path to God will be as clear as ever.

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Stu Baker

About Stu Baker