5 Spiritual Disciplines every Christian needs to focus on in 2023
What are Spiritual Disciplines and Why Do They Matter
Everyone knows Romans 8:28, but I love what Paul writes in Romans 8:29-30. He says, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” Now, some people read this verse and get worried that it means God doesn’t really give us agency because he “foreknew” us but if we look at Psalm 139:13-14, we can see that God knew us in our mother’s womb so we can skip that part.
What we do know from this verse is that God has a purpose for us. That purpose is to be more like Christ. We are to conform to the image of the Son. The way we conform to the ways of Jesus is to dive into these spiritual disciplines. The more we study, the deeper we can go into who God calls us to be and what His purpose is for us. This week we’re diving into six of my favorite spiritual disciplines and talking about the impact of each of these.
Spiritual discipline 1: Prayer
Prayer is a vital part of our relationship with God. It’s the tool that allows us to communicate our needs, wants, and desires to Him. It’s the place we can go to express gratitude. As we pray, it opens up our hearts and minds so that the Spirit can speak to us and guide us. Prayer also helps us to stay focused on God’s will and not our own.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 18
The Different Types of Prayer
There are many different types of prayer. Whether it’s supplication, thanksgiving, adoration, confession, or intercession the goal is the same – draw closer to the Lord.
Let’s look at these different types of prayer in detail.
Supplication: Supplication is asking God for something – it could be a need, a want, or even just to help us know what He wants for our lives.
Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving is giving thanks to God for His many blessings and mercies in our life. It’s a way to show our gratitude and praise Him for all He has done.
Adoration: Adoration is worshipping God for who He is – His power, love, grace, and mercy. In adoration, we focus on His attributes rather than our needs and wants.
Confession: Confession is admitting our wrongdoings and asking for forgiveness. It’s acknowledging our sin and asking for His grace to help us turn away from it and make right the wrongs we’ve committed.
Intercession: Intercession is praying on behalf of someone else, typically a family member or friend in need. We can pray for them to receive peace, comfort, healing, or any other specific need they have.
The importance of prayer in the spiritual life cannot be overstated. It’s a way to connect with God and ask for His guidance and wisdom in our lives. No matter what type of prayer we use, our ultimate goal should be to draw near to Him and seek His will above all else.
Spiritual discipline 2: Fasting
I personally love fasting. I remember the first time I found out our church fasts once a month, I thought “oh gosh, here comes a miserable 24 hours.” However, never once have I had a physical hunger pang while fasting.
Why Should I Fast?
The Bible mentions fasting multiple times, and it is a spiritual discipline that can help us to draw closer to God. Fasting helps us develop our relationship with Him by making us depend on Him for strength and guidance. It also reminds us of our need for Him in our lives.
Additionally, fasting has the power to change our hearts. When our desires are focused on God and not worldly pleasures, it can lead to lasting transformation.
The Different Types of Fasting
There are different types of fasting that we can practice as part of our spiritual discipline. Here’s a look at some of the most common ones:
• Full Fast: This is a fast where you abstain from all food and drinks, except water.
• Partial Fast: This is a fast where you eat only one type of food or drink or limit your diet to certain foods.
• Liquid Fast: This is a fast where you consume only liquids such as juice, tea, coffee, smoothies, and soups.
• Daniel Fast: This is a fast based on the diet of Daniel in the Bible and consists only of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and water.
• Media Fast: This is a fast where you abstain from all media such as television, movies, social media, and other digital devices.
• Sabbath Rest: This is a day of rest where all unnecessary activities are put aside and we focus only on God.
Fasting can be a powerful spiritual discipline that helps us to draw closer to God and develop our relationship with Him. It has the power to transform our hearts and minds, so we should strive to include it in our spiritual life.
SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE 3: BIBLE STUDY
I remember one time someone told me they did not need to read the Bible again because they read it cover to cover, ONCE. One time. And felt like they had received all they needed to receive and there was no point in going back in again. My jaw dropped. I easily looked like a lunatic for a split second there because I could not believe what I was hearing.
As most of us know but it is worth stating, we need to be studying our Bible. A lot. Over and over again. One time is not enough. A lifetime is not enough to be honest.
Reading & Studying the Bible
There is actually a huge difference between the two. Reading the Bible is like reading any other book, where we just read from cover to cover and keep track of what is happening in the story. Studying, however, involves looking into the Bible’s depths by digging deep into its passages and meanings. We can use tools such as commentaries, a concordance, and Bible dictionaries to gain a deeper understanding of the Bible’s words and how they were meant to be applied.
Studying the Bible allows us to get into the Word of God, which is essential in our spiritual life. It teaches us more about who God is and what He expects from us as His followers. Studying the Bible can help us discover our purpose, strengthen our faith, and help us to live a life that pleases God.
Tips for Reading and Studying the Bible Effectively
First and foremost, you do not need an Instagram-worthy setup to dive into the Word. Sure it feels nice, but not a necessity. Dive in where you feel comfortable.
I also recommend diving into an Inductive Study Method. This method allows you to read and study the Bible in a systematic way, by breaking it down into four steps: Observation, Interpretation, Application and Implication. This is an excellent method for really digging deep and studying the scriptures like never before.
Ultimately, reading and studying the Bible is essential for our spiritual growth. We can all benefit from spending time reading and studying God’s Word. Let us remember to set aside regular times for this important activity, so that we can draw closer to the Lord and His plan for our lives. Remember, Jesus knew scripture so it’s important we do as well.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.Romans 12:2 NIV
Spiritual Discipline 4: Worshiping God
The fourth spiritual discipline is worshiping God. In the Bible, we see that Jesus gave His life so that we could be reconciled to God and experience true joy in Him (John 15:11). Worshiping God is a way for us to express our love, devotion, and gratitude for all that He has done for us.
Worshiping God can take many forms, from singing songs of praise to reading the Bible together. We can also express worship through prayer and other acts of service. Worshipping God helps us to focus on Him and the incredible love that He has for us. As we spend time worshipping Him, we draw closer to Him, and our hearts will be filled with His presence.
Worshiping God is an important part of living a life that reflects His love and grace. Let us remember to set aside time each day to worship Him so that we can experience joy and peace in Him.
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.John 4:23 ESV
Spiritual discipline 5: Serving Others in Love
The fifth spiritual discipline is serving others in love. Jesus calls us to serve one another as He served us (John 13:34). It’s one of our greatest commands. Serving others is a way for us to show our love for them, and it can take many forms. We can offer physical help by volunteering at a local charity or helping someone with their tasks. We can also offer emotional and spiritual help by listening and offering advice.
Serving others also allows us to express our love for God in tangible ways. As we serve others, we are showing them the same mercy and grace that Jesus showed us (Matthew 28:19-20). It’s an opportunity to demonstrate our faith and share in the joy of being a part of God’s kingdom.
Let us remember to express our love for others by serving them with compassion, understanding, and humility. As we serve in love, our hearts will be filled with joy as we see how God is working through us.
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.Mark 10:45 ESV
Benefits of Adopting Spiritual Disciplines into Our Lives
These five spiritual disciplines—prayer, Bible study, worshiping God, and serving others in love—are essential practices that help us grow closer to God. They offer us an opportunity to live out our faith in a tangible way and draw closer to Him. As we commit to a regular practice of these disciplines, our faith will be strengthened and our understanding of God’s Word will grow.
By drawing near to God through these spiritual disciplines, we can experience the joy and peace that only He can give. We can also experience a deeper connection with Him and a greater understanding of His will for our lives. As we live out our purpose, to be more Christ-like, let us remember to make these spiritual disciplines a part of our daily lives.
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.2 Peter 3:18 NIV