This is the second article in my series on spiritual disciplines titled “Why Men Need Discipline.” You can see the first article here: “What is Discipline?”
In today’s post, “What is a Spiritual Discipline, Anyway?”, we will discuss various forms of spiritual disciplines.
Spiritual Disciplines: A Definition
A spiritual discipline is something we either do or refrain from doing, repeatedly over time, so as to become trained in the habits of seeing God, hearing God, obeying God and doing God’s will.
As we engage in spiritual disciplines regularly, over time God uses them to change our hearts and our minds. We become transformed into someone who more closely reflects Jesus Christ in our mood, our speech, our attitudes, and our decisions. We become less focused on ourselves and on the things of the world, and more focused on God and His desires for our lives.
Some Examples of Spiritual Disciplines
A few examples of spiritual disciplines include:
Prayer – communication with God. Allowing Him to speak to us and our bringing to Him praises, thankfulness, confession, adoration, worries, fears, troubles, anxieties and much more. We also should pray for others and for the church.
Bible reading – just reading the Bible with no purpose other than to hear from God. The Bible is God speaking to us.
Bible study – going deeper into the meaning of God’s Word. Study is different from just reading. I read the newspaper but I don’t study it. When we study God’s Word, alone or in a group, we should use a variety of means to get the most out of what the Word has for us to learn.
Worship – this is not just an event on the weekend, but a way of living. At times, we worship together corporately, but most of our worship should be in the form of our daily lives as we give up what may be important to us in exchange for what is most important to God.
Christian Fellowship – spending time with other Christians. Doing life together.
Giving – returning a portion of what we have been given to God by making regular offerings to our churches, to missionaries and to others in need.
Service – putting our gifts, talents and passions to work in practical ways to help the church with its mission and to help our communities, particularly those who have need.
Meditation and silence – getting away from the busyness and hustle of the daily grind, freeing our minds to think about what God is saying to us. Being in silence allows that to happen more freely.
Rest and Sleep – getting enough rest and sleep so that we are not physically exhausted. This allows us to be our best for Him, for our families, and for all of the work that God has for us to do.
Health – taking care of our bodies so that we can be most useful to God and others and also so we will be good examples of discipline to others.
Evangelism – inviting people to learn about Jesus. Inviting people to church and to our homes and other small group events.
Reactions – learning to react in Godly ways to all situations. Controlling our tempers. Not allowing fear to dominate our lives. Staying confident and positive, even in times of great distress.
Choices – learning to make wise choices that are based on scripture and not on selfish desires. Choosing rightly regarding who we spend time with, what we spend money on, where we go and don’t go, etc.
Again, these are just some of the things that could be considered “spiritual disciplines,” but it’s a good list to use to start!
The Bottom Line is Relationship Building
The bottom line is still relationship building! God uses our effort in becoming disciplined in areas that matter, allowing Him to train us to be righteous, in order to draw us closer to Him and to increase our desire to connect with others more closely and in more holy ways.
What’s Next …
Some reasons why men specifically need to develop spiritual discipline is the topic of my next post. . . .