What is a spiritual discipline? Think about it this way. Regular rest, good diet, and regular exercise strengthen you physically. Spiritual disciplines are actions taken regularly to strengthen you spiritually.
Spiritual Disciplines Lists
There are many lists of spiritual disciplines. Donald Whitney in Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life lists: Bible intake, prayer, worship, evangelism, serving, stewardship, fasting, silence and solitude, journaling, and learning. Richard Foster in Celebration of Discipline includes the following:
- Inward disciplines: mediation, prayer, fasting, and study.
- Outward disciplines: simplicity, solitude, submission, and service.
- Corporate disciplines: confession, worship, guidance, and celebration.
Our purpose for spiritual disciplines makes a difference. Ask yourself if you are meditating or praying as part of routine. Or are you doing so to understand God, His Word, and His ways better? Are you submitting and serving to be seen? Or are you doing so out of love for God, others, and self? Are you worshiping because of how it makes you feel. Or are you worshiping because God is awesome and deserves praise and worship?
Notice the word I used for frequency in the definition: regularly. Some disciplines will be daily (or even hourly). Others will be weekly, monthly, or periodically. The word, discipline, begs for regularity to contribute most toward spiritual strength, relationship, and progress.
How many have you tried? Which have you found most helpful? Which have you led others to practice?
Balance is helpful. Personal reflection and assessment are needed from time to time. Don’t just study the disciplines. Practice them. Teach them to others. Grow as His disciple. Make disciples.
For more ideas about discipleship, check out these posts: