We all struggle with various things in our lives. However, there is one struggle that we all have in common and that is the struggle with ourselves. We find it very difficult to discipline ourselves and to be fully committed. We struggle with the day to day motions of life. We get frustrated, complacent, dissatisfied, lazy, and even bored. However, there is something to be said about methodically going through life, living in obedience to God’s Word. There are certain disciplines that all believers should have in their life. We may not always feel like practicing these things, however, our spiritual condition depends upon it. Sometimes, the greatest spiritual growth occurs when we force ourselves to be faithful in the little things even when we don’t feel like it. I’d like to share with you seven spiritual disciplines that is a must for the life of every believer. These disciplines are of equal importance and are not listed any particular order.
As believers in Christ, we need to understand that we were created for worship. God created us for the sole purpose of bringing glory to Him. We were created for His glory. The Bible is very clear that in everything we do, we are to worship Him. John 4:23-24 mentions that we are to worship God in spirit and in truth. To worship God in spirit is to worship Him with every fiber of our being. It is to worship Him whole heartedly. To worship Him in truth is to live a life of obedience to the truth. As believers, everything we do in life should be considered as an act of worship to God. We should discipline ourselves on a daily basis to live a life that brings glory to God.
Not only are we to live a life of worship to God, but we are also to live a life of prayer. Too often we miss out on what God desires for us simply because we do not pray. As believers, we should consistently maintain a lifestyle of prayer. We should have a time and a place where we get alone with God every day simply to pray. We should constantly pray throughout our day, living in an attitude of continual prayer. We must also not neglect cooperate prayer. Praying with other believers is vital to our growth and to the edifying of the body of Christ. It is a sad thing to see the mid-week prayer meeting decline across America. Local churches just simply do not pray together like that used to. No wonder the church in America has lost its power. As believers, we should make it a weekly priority to attend prayer meeting. Yes, we live busy lives. However, we should never be so busy that we do not have the time to gather with God’s people on a weekly basis for prayer. If we are too busy to gather for prayer meeting then we have too many things in our lives and we need to downsize. God is not pleased with our busyness and God is not pleased when we neglect the ever important discipline of cooperate prayer. Make a fresh commitment today to have a personal prayer time every day, maintain an ongoing moment by moment attitude of prayer, and a fresh commitment to attend prayer meeting at the local church where you attend.
In addition to living a life of prayer, we should also set time aside for meditating on the things of God. Meditation is a spiritual discipline that is rarely discussed or even used. However, throughout the book of Psalms, for example, we have many references to meditating on the Word of God. (Ps. 1:2 ; 63:6 ; 77:12 ; 143:5) One of the major obstacles facing the body of Christ today is the ever increasing demands on our time. Life is not as simple as it used to be. Unfortunately, we have fallen into the trap of today’s fast-paced, technology driven world. As a result, we have very little moments of silence and contemplation. When we do have moments of quiet, we tend to have a smart phone or some other device in our hands. We desperately need to relearn the art of getting by ourselves in a quiet place with nothing to distract us and just simply listen to the Spirit of God speaking to us.
- Bible Study
2 Timothy 2:15 tells us that we are to study the Word of God. Daily Bible study is essential to the growth and development of the believer. Such Bible study should include a systematic plan for studying the great truths of God’s Word. This plan should consist of: daily personal Bible reading, participating in a small group Bible study (Sunday School), listening to sermons, and (if possible) taking at least one year to attend a Bible College or Institute. Careful and organized Bible study is a crucial spiritual discipline for every believer.
2 Corinthians 9:7 tells us that God loves a cheerful giver. Throughout the pages of scripture we see this theme of giving. We are to give of our time, talents, and treasure. The time we have on this earth is a gift from God. We should use our time wisely and efficiently. God has also given every single person certain gifts, talents, and abilities. We all have something to contribute in the work of the church. We are blessed with resources. We live in one of the wealthiest nations on the planet. We are to give of our treasure, our finances to the work of the Lord. When it comes to giving we need to understand that it is not really giving until it hurts. There must be sacrifice. Do you give of your time, talents, and treasure in a sacrificial way?
- Church Attendance
This is a spiritual discipline that many neglect without even knowing it. In Hebrews 10:25 we are taught that we are to not forsake the assembling together of believers. We are commanded to assemble together more and more the closer we get to the return of Christ. Attending every regular church service at the church we attend is crucial for our spiritual growth and the benefit of the church body as a whole. We should make it a priority to be present at every church service (Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Mid-week prayer meeting, etc.) Such faithful attendance brings encouragement and strength to the entire church family. Your presence is needed. Just being there goes a long way in building up your church. Make a personal commitment to attend all the services at your church every week.
Acts 1:8 along with the Great Commission describes our elected purpose as God’s people. You and I are on this earth for the sole purpose of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. Telling others about Jesus should be a part of our daily lives. Everywhere we go, we should be mindful of those around us and take every opportunity we have to share the Gospel. We should show the love of Jesus to the world both in our words and in our actions and behavior.
I have heard many excuses during the many years I have served in the ministry. One excuse that seems to be made above all others is that ‘I don’t want to do something out of obligation, instead I want to do it out of my love for Christ.’ People give this excuse because it sounds so spiritual; however, it just a copout. Think about it this way: If you say that you are not going to eat food or drink water because you do not want to do it out of obligation, then we will soon be having your funeral. These spiritual disciplines are things that we should do no matter what. We do not wait until our hearts are right or until our motives are completely pure. We do them faithfully even when we do not feel like it. Why? Because all of these things are things that God has instructed us to do in His Word. So, yes, we should practice these spiritual disciplines out of obligation as believers in Christ. These are the very basic and minimum things that God expects of us as His children. You are not going to tell your employer that you are not going to go to work today because you don’t feel the love for your job. You do not tell him that you are not going to do something if you feel obligated to do it. If you do, you will be looking for a new job. I am afraid that we treat the secular world with more professionalism and respect than we do our walk with God and our relationship to His church. Think about it. Commit yourself today to practicing these seven spiritual disciplines faithfully no matter what, even if you do not feel like it. If you do, God will bless for you it.