Showing posts with label Disciplines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Disciplines. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Live As One Who Is Wise


One characteristic that sets successful people apart from those who have limited success is how they use time. 

Successful people have the ability to make the most of the time they have been given, viewing it as a valuable resource that needs to be used wisely. 

On the other hand, people who have limited success tend to see time as a limitless resource and, therefore, undervalue it. Their mantra is often, "There is always tomorrow."

I have come to the conviction that many of us need to change the way we view time. Time is a valuable resource that God has given us, and just as we are called to be good stewards of our money, we need to be good stewards of our time.

The apostle Paul addressed the issue of time in Ephesians 5:

"Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk — not as unwise people but as wise — making the most of the time, because the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:15-16; CSB)

We are called to be wise in our use of time.

But what does it mean to be wise in our use of time? 

To be wise in our use of time we need to be INTENTIONAL. This requires us to be deliberate about the activities we choose to do, ensuring that we use the time given to us in a way that honors God and allows us to make the most of our lives. We can't afford to let time slip away without purpose or direction.

To be wise in our use of time we need to be PRODUCTIVE. This requires us to use our time in a way that is constructive and beneficial. This does not mean that we need to be working all the time. Rest and relaxation are crucial elements of being wise with our time, that is one of the reasons God gave His people the Sabbath. Even during our downtime, we can use our time in a way that is productive, such as spending time with loved ones, pursuing a hobby that brings us joy, or worshipping God.

To be wise in our use of time we need to be MINDFUL. This requires that we are aware of how we are spending our time and making sure that it aligns with our values and goals. It is easy to get caught up in distractions and time-wasters, but we need to stay focused on what is important and use our time in a way that reflects our priorities.

Time is a valuable resource that God has given us, and we need to use it wisely. 

As God’s people, let us strive to be good stewards of the time we have been given by being intentional, productive, and mindful. When we live our lives in this way we honor God by making the most of every moment He has given to us.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Creating a Morning Routine


A morning routine can be a game-changer when it comes to starting your day off on the right foot. Many successful people swear by having a consistent routine that helps guide the start of the day. I have also discovered that a morning routine helps me make room in my day for spiritual disciplines

But what exactly are the benefits of having a morning routine, and why is it so important?

Having a consistent morning routine can provide numerous benefits to your mental and physical well-being. Here are just a few of them:
  1. Sets the Tone for the Day — Starting your day off with a consistent routine helps to set the tone for the rest of the day. When you have a set routine that you follow every morning, it gives you a sense of control and structure. This can help to reduce stress and anxiety and create a sense of calm and focus.
  2. Boosts Productivity — When you have a morning routine, you start your day with intention and purpose. This can help to boost productivity and increase your overall effectiveness throughout the day. By starting your day off with tasks that are important to you, you can create momentum that carries you through the rest of your day.
  3. Improves Mental Health — A morning routine can also be beneficial for your mental health. When you have a set routine, it can help to reduce anxiety and stress. Taking time for yourself in the morning can also help you feel more centered and grounded. This can help you to start your day with a positive attitude and increase your overall well-being.
  4. Creates Consistency — Consistency is key when it comes to creating habits that stick. By establishing a morning routine, you can create consistency in your life. This consistency can help you to feel more in control of your life and can help you to establish other healthy habits throughout your day.
  5. Increases Energy — A morning routine can help to increase your energy levels. When you start your day with healthy habits, such as exercise, meditation, or a healthy breakfast, it can help to give you a boost of energy that lasts throughout the day. This can help you to feel more alert and focused and can improve your overall productivity and well-being.
Having a morning routine can be an important tool in helping us be good stewards of the life God has given us. So how do we go about creating one?

Here are some tips for creating a morning routine that works for you:
  1. Start with your ideal wake-up time — Decide what time you want to wake up each morning and plan your routine around that.
  2. Include activities that energize you — Consider including activities like walking, weight lifting, yoga, or body weight exercises - anything that helps you feel energized and focused.
  3. Plan for what needs to be done — Think about the things you need to do to get ready for the day, like taking a shower, eating breakfast, and brushing your teeth. These activities are a normal part of the morning, but they need to be scheduled, otherwise, the routine will feel hurried and unhelpful.
  4. Make time for spiritual formation — Consider what disciplines would be beneficial to do on a daily basis and would get the day started on the right foot. Disciplines such as Bible reading, prayer, singing worship music, meditation, or journaling. These activities can help you focus the day on God.
  5. Be consistent — Stick to your morning routine as much as possible, even on weekends. This will help you create a habit and reap the full benefits of a consistent routine.
  6. Be flexible — Be open to adjusting your routine as needed. Life is unpredictable, so be willing to make changes when necessary.
Establishing a morning routine can be a game-changer for a productive and fulfilling day, and it can also contribute to our spiritual growth. By investing some time and effort into creating a personalized routine, we can cultivate a sense of purpose, energy, focus, and spiritual connectedness.

To make the most of this habit, it's important to maintain a balance of consistency and flexibility, and to prioritize activities that align with our well-being and values. As good stewards of our time, we can leverage the power of a morning routine to enhance our lives and make progress towards our goals.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Beyond Feelings and Intentions

In his book The Spirit of the Disciplines, Dallas Willard wrote:

One of the greatest deceptions in the practice of the Christian religion is the idea that all that really matters is our internal feelings, ideas, beliefs, and intentions. It is this mistake about the psychology of the human being that more than anything else divorces salvation from life, leaving us a headful of vital truths about God and a body unable to fend off sin. (p. 152)
This quote highlights a common mistake among Christians: the belief that our internal feelings, ideas, beliefs, and intentions are all that matter in our relationship with God. This idea leads to a twisted view of salvation, one that emphasizes knowledge and feeling over action and change, which leaves us stunted in our spiritual formation.

To truly live as disciples of Jesus, we need a discipleship that integrates our thoughts, emotions, and actions. The spiritual formation that is to happen in our minds and hearts must be reflected in the way we live and interact with the world around us.

I think it is crucial to remember that ongoing spiritual formation requires both a change of mind and a change of behavior. Repentance leads to a change of mind which motivates a change of behavior which leads to a renewed repentance that flows into a changed mind which results in a change of behavior. And this cycle keeps us moving forward in our spiritual formation.

One crucial part in this process is the practice of spiritual disciplines. Spiritual disciplines are intentional habits and practices that help us align our minds and hearts with God's will. Disciplines such as prayer, Bible study, fasting, and solitude, allow us to train our minds to focus on God's truth and our hearts to respond in obedience.

However, spiritual disciplines alone are not enough. We also need to cultivate a lifestyle of service and selflessness. As Jesus himself said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24; NLT)

To deny ourselves means that we put aside our own desires and preferences so we can love God and love our neighbor. We know that we maturing in our discipleship as it becomes second nature for us to love.

Ultimately, our salvation is not just a matter of intellectual understanding or emotional experience; it is a transformation of our whole being. As Willard writes, "Salvation is not just a matter of being saved from our sins; it is a matter of being saved to be the kind of person who naturally does the good and right thing" (p. 153).

We need to reject the belief that our feelings and intentions are all that matter in our spiritual formation. Instead, let us embrace a discipleship that integrates our thoughts, emotions, and actions in pursuit of God's will. This is how we become the people God created us to be.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Prayer and What We Believe about God


Prayer is an integral part of the Christian life. Through prayer we communicate with God, seek His guidance, offer thanks and praise, and ask for His intervention in the world.

I believe the way we approach prayer reveals what we truly believe about God.

If we believe that God is distant and uninterested in our lives, we will not see the point in praying. If, on the other hand, we believe that God cares deeply for us and is actively working on our behalf, then we will be motivated to pray at every opportunity about the things that weigh on our hearts.

Remember, the Bible tells us that God is a loving and caring Father who is deeply concerned for His children. Jesus taught us to pray to "Our Father in heaven" (Matthew 6:9). Addressing God as our Father is a powerful reminder of the love and care God has for us. This truth can motivate us to approach God with confidence, knowing that He loves us and desires the best for our lives.

Yet, it can be hard to remember the love and care God has for us. The circumstances of life can cause us to doubt God. When we face trials and difficulties, we can wonder if God really does care about us. We may question why He has allowed us to experience pain and suffering. 

Yet, it is during times like these that prayer becomes even more important.

How do we pray when we don’t feel like praying? When we doubt the goodness of God?

I don’t know if I have a good answer for that, except, that we fall back on the discipline of prayer. This is why it is crucial to develop a habit of prayer, so we will follow through the with the actions of faith, even when the feeling of faith is not there.

I am confident that as we come to God in prayer, we are reminded of His faithfulness and love for us. We are reminded that He is working all things together for our good (Romans 8:28).

Prayer is also the way we align our hearts and minds with God's will. When we pray, we seek God's guidance and direction for our lives. We acknowledge that we need His wisdom and understanding to navigate the challenges that we face. As we pray, we remember of God's sovereignty and power. We remind ourselves that He is in control, even when things seem to be spiraling out of our control.

Prayer is a spiritual discipline that reveals what we truly believe about God. If we believe that God is distant and uninterested in our lives, we may not see the point in praying. But if we believe that God cares deeply for us and is actively working on our behalf, then we will be motivated to fall on our knees and cry out to Him.

As we pray, we are reminded of God's love and care for us. We are also reminded of His sovereignty and power. May we be encouraged to pray with faith and confidence, knowing that God hears our prayers and is actively working on our behalf.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Take Time To Study

Christians are people of the Book. By that I mean Christians are guided, first and foremost, by the Bible. We believe that the Bible contains the wisdom and truth God wants His people to know. 

This is why many Christians have a goal of reading through the Bible each year. The commitment to read the Bible the reveals their desire to be more familiar with the Book that is to guide their lives. 

The problem that many of us face, me included, is that there are parts of the Bible which are difficult to read. So if you expect to come away with a little nugget of truth from your reading each day, you might be disappointed. It is hard to understand how parts of the Bible apply to our lives.

Not only is there the difficulty in understanding the Bible, but there is also the reality of how our memory works. We simply do not remember what we read which means there isn’t much transformation happening in our hearts and minds.

In Romans the apostle Paul wrote:
Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. — Romans 12:2 (CSB)

To keep from being conformed in the image of the world we need to be intentional about being transformed into the image of Jesus. This starts with the renewal of our minds. To be transformed we  need to give our minds the proper material to dwell on. While reading is the foundation of getting God’s truth into our minds, I think many of us need to take the next step and create a system of Bible Study that fits our lives and personalities.

I know there are different study systems available, but I have found many of them too complicated and time intensive to consistently do.  Over the years this discouraged to me as I have tried to study the Bible. 

I want to share with you what I do to study the Bible and get God’s Word into my heart and mind.

First, get a Bible translation that is easy to read. Don’t get hung up on “what is the best Bible translation?” All the main translations had a team of scholars working on them to create the most accurate translation as possible. Remember, get a translation and not a paraphrase like the Message or the Living Bible. While paraphrases have a place, they are usually the work of one person trying to smooth out the English translation. For ease of reading I would recommend the New Living Translation (which is what I preach from) or the Christian Standard Bible (which has become my go to Bible translation in 2022).

Second, get a good Study Bible. Until this past year I have never had a Study Bible, but now I own several on my Olive Tree Bible Software, and I have discovered that they are super helpful in my sermon preparation each week. Now there are a number of speciality Study Bibles out there that I have found not near as helpful, they have good articles and highlights in them, they lack the commentary notes that are useful. The Study Bibles I have found useful this year are the CSB Study Bible, the NIV Study Bible, the ESV Global Study Bible, and the NIV Bible Background Study Bible.

Another option would be to invest in Olive Tree Bible Software. While the the App is free and there are some free resources to go with it, to get the most out of it you need to purchase resources like study bibles and commentaries. To give it a try you can sing up for a study pack (there are NIV, ESV, and NKJV study packs available for $60 a year). Learning how to use Olive Tree this last year has transformed my study time.

Third, get a notebook or journal that you will use exclusively for Bible Study. You can use this journal for your regular personal study as well as taking notes from the sermons and classes you listen to. I use the note feature in the Olive Tree Bible Software. Writing things down helps you to remember them and it gives you a place to refer back to if you desire.

Fourth, adopt a Bible Study Method. This is what held me back for years, I couldn’t find one that I could understand, that fit the rhythm of my life, and that could be done an a regular basis. A few years ago I decided to develop my own method. I call it the STOP Bible Study Method and it is the way I start out my sermon study each week. It is also what I use to work through books of the Bible on my own.  STOP stands for Summarize, Truth, Observations, and Prayer. What you do is at the top of the page write down the passage you are studying, I usually only do a paragraph or two at a time. Then read the passage. After reading the passage take a few minutes to summarize what you read (which usually requires rereading it a few times). After summarizing the passage, write down what you think the main point or truth of the passage is (this usually becomes my Big Idea for the sermon). Once you have the truth down, make some observations about the passage. These observations can be things that stood out to you, questions that you have, or other details that you found interesting. Finally, write out a prayer asking God to help you apply the passage, or at least the truth of it, to your life. 

Fifth, use the Study Bible to read the commentary notes on the passage to get a better understanding of what the text is about. Write down any ideas that you think are important to remember. This way you are not only relying on your own ideas and observations, but are also gaining the insights from scholars who have studied the passage.

Sixth, make a commitment to attend Sunday morning worship and other study times that your local church family offers. Individual study time is important, but study and discussion with a group is crucial. We benefit from the perspectives of other people in our pursuit of spiritual formation. 

Study is a crucial part of our spiritual formation. I encourage you to make space for study in your life.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Don’t Neglect to Train


Practice makes perfect.

This old saying reminds us of a basic truth: In order to do things well we need to learn how to do them.

This is a process that takes time. The repetition that happens through practice is essential for learning fundamentals and building muscle memory. Both are needed to make a new skill become like second nature in our lives.

If we are going to do something well we have practice doing it.

A musician needs to learn how to read music, to play scales, and to keep time before any actual music can even be played. Even then hours of practice are required to play a piece of music well.

A basketball player needs to learn how to dribble, pass, and shoot so he can play with other players. After that hours of practicing the game is needed before an actual game can be played so that both player and team play well.

Practice is a universal law governing how we improve a skill or a talent.

Since this is the case, why have we overlooked the importance of practice when it comes to our spiritual development?

Perhaps it is because we don’t want to be accused of doing “works” to earn our salvation.

Perhaps it is because we don’t have a coach, teacher, or mentor guiding us through what we need to do.

Whatever the reason, we have neglected the development of our spirits.

C. E. Orr in his book How to Live a Holy Life wrote:

One of the main problems for American Christians today is an understanding of spiritual formation. They have confessed their sin, repented, declared their faith in Jesus, and have been baptized, but then they have been abandoned to figure things out for themselves.

The American church lacks true discipleship.

Reflect on what the apostle Paul told Timothy:

Paul reminded Timothy not to waste his life in doing things that did not matter. Timothy could spend his life arguing against the silly myths of the day, which would take time but ultimately would be ineffective and a waste of his time.

Timothy could also devote his time to healthy living and exercise, which would benefit the body, but would have minimal impact on his spiritual formation.

Instead Paul told him to train for godliness.

How do we do that?

If we approach our spiritual formation in Jesus like we approach training and practice in other areas, like music and sports, then I think we can see two commitments we must make.

First, we need to commit to spiritual disciplines. Spiritual disciplines are activities that God’s people have historically done to mature as people of faith. In fact, many of these disciplines are things that Jesus during his time on earth. These disciplines include activities such as Bible study, prayer, fasting, giving, and worship. These things are the equivalent of learning how to play a music scale or learning how to dribble a basketball. They are want teach your mind, heart, soul, and body how to act when faced with the realities of life.

Second, we need to commit to Christian duties. Duties are those things that God expects His people to do. They include things like serving people, forgiving those people who hurt us, sacrificing time and money to help make disciples, and standing up for what is right. These are not things that we do naturally or even enjoy doing, and that is why they become duties. When we do them, because of our love for God, they teach us humility and loving neighbor as ourselves. These duties are much like practice. They are boring, just like playing the same piece of music a thousand different times or going to basketball practice day after day and compete against the same people, but they help you get ready for the concert or game. When we make the choice to do these duties we are preparing to meet the unpredictable choices that we face in life.

If we are going to be like Jesus we need to train to be like him. This training is going to take a lot of hard work on our part and a lot of grace on God’s part, but working together transformation will take place.

We can be conformed into the image of Jesus!

Join the Paul’s Ponderings Facebook Page.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Keep Moving in the Right Direction

 I need this reminder.

With the enthusiasm of New Year's Resolutions fading away, I am guessing you may need to hear it too.

Changing our behavior is hard work and it takes time. 

Very rarely are people able to make significant life changes over night. Not only do we have undo years of habit development, but often we have to deal with our own negative self talk. 

At times it really seems like there is a part of us that doesn't want to change, regardless of how bad and unhealthy our behavior may be.

Something that I have been dealing with the last few weeks is the voice that tells me, "That is too little and too late." There is a part of me that wants me to believe that it doesn't matter what I do, all my effort will be a waste in the end. At times it feels like true lasting change is a hopeless dream.

When I listen to that voice I fall back on my old habits. When that I happens I want to throw in the towel and give up.

This is why it is crucial to remember that a mistake is not an excuse to give up. Nothing would ever change if we gave up when a mistake was made.

We need to remember that mistakes happen. They are part of learning a new skill, and it is okay if we are not perfect. The more we work on what we are changing, the easier it will become.

Remember what John wrote; "But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." (1 John 1:9; NLT)

God provided a way for us to leave our sin in the past. He knew that we were going to stumble and fall, and so He made sure that even in our sin there would be an opportunity to return to Him.

Because of forgiveness, our sin is not an excuse to give up.

If that is true for sin, how much more true is it for the mistakes we make as we try to alter our habits and change our lives?

Since God forgives our sins, then we should be able to forgive ourselves of the mistakes we make, and keep moving in the direction of becoming a better person.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Vital Importance

I have been trying to write this pondering for many days now, but it just hasn’t come. 

So to move on from it, let me bullet point my thoughts on this quote:
  • Many Christians see the main benefit of salvation and following Jesus as “going to heaven” when they die. This causes them to miss out on the difference Jesus makes for our lives today.
  • When we believe that faith is mainly about believing the right things and that believing these things is the key to salvation, then we have little to no motivation to change the way we live. Instead we become concerned about having the right doctrines and less concerned about living the right way.
  • It is crucial for us to understand what God is up. God doesn’t need to save us so we can spend eternity with Him. Remember God created a good universe. He created human beings in His image so we can rule this world along side of Him, displaying His goodness and demonstrating His character along the way.
  • Jesus is the perfect sacrifice because He alone was able to display God’s goodness in the way He lived. For us to live out our design, for us to be true to the image of God, we need to be conformed to the life of Jesus.
  • To be conformed to the life and teachings of Jesus takes intentional effort and time. This is the role the spiritual disciplines play in our lives. The disciplines are like the drills during basketball practice or the scales that are rehearsed during piano practice. The drills are not the game and the scales are not the performance, but they help the player and the musician be better prepared for the game and the concert.
  • It is vitally important that we take following Jesus seriously and don’t just sit around waiting to go to heaven. God created us for so much more. In fact, we prepare for eternity with God by conforming to the life of Jesus now.
Just some quick thoughts on this passage.

Hopefully they were helpful to you. If not, you got a peek at how my mind works.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

A Mark of Maturity

Author Dallas Willard in his book The Spirit of the Disciplines wrote; “Here as always—whether in our natural life or in our spiritual life—the mark of disciplined persons is that they are able to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.” (p. 151)

It is the disciplined person who is able to come through in the clutch and does not allow the pressure of the moment to rattle him/her from accomplishing what needs to be done.

It was the discipline of shooting thousands of baskets that enabled basketball legend Larry Bird to be such a great clutch performer. Without the hours of intense practice Bird would never have been able to hit as many last second shots as he did. It wasn’t about having good intentions, but it was about training his body to respond in a certain way, and that is what made it possible for him to be so great.

We understand the importance of discipline in the arenas of sports and music, but often we neglect it when it comes to living a life of faith. 

Somehow we have told ourselves that what matters are our good intentions, and if we are willing to follow Jesus then that is good enough. The problem is that when the chips are down and life is stacked against us we often fail. We can’t come through in the clutch because we have not trained our bodies to respond in the right way.

Let’s face it; many of us are undisciplined.

I would guarantee that if we examined the lives of people who are considered to have a mature faith one thing they all would have in common is discipline. Granted they may not call it discipline, but they would have certain activities that they were devoted to doing which expressed their commitment to Christ Jesus.

A verse that has come to mean a lot to me the past few years is Acts 2:42. In this verse Luke shares with us four activities that the earlier church devoted themselves to doing.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (ESV)
As the Church exploded on to the scene the Apostles made sure that the new Believers were involved in activities that would encourage these new disciples and would help them mature in their faith.

Being disciplined is essential if we are going to be mature disciples of Christ.

Consider what the apostle Paul wrote about who he lived his life:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; ESV)

Paul compared his walk with Christ to an athlete preparing to compete in the games. The athlete is disciplined in his/her practice so they are able to perform to the best of their ability and when the prize.

According to Paul, the athlete is an illustration for how we are to live our lives: we are to discipline our bodies and learn to control them.

Maturing in faith isn’t just a matter of knowing more or having the proper intentions. Rather, it is about training our bodies to respond to the good desires of our new hearts. We are to discipline our bodies so we can respond in love when others respond in hate, so we can respond with joy for another person’s success rather than being jealous, or so we can give generously rather than greedily horde what we have.

If we are going to live like Jesus, then we need to discipline our bodies to respond to the new heart He has given us.

Erwin McManus in his little book Stand Against the Wind wrote:
There is a process in our becoming all that God created us to be. This is the human side of divine change. Transformation is both the miracle of God and the stewardship of man. Godliness is a result of both divine activity and human action. God promises to do what we cannot do for ourselves, and He commands us to do that which He will not do for us. There is both miracle and responsibility. God entrusts us with His resources, and then He holds us accountable for what we do with them.” (p. 46)
Foundational to what I am saying is that our transformation and salvation are miracles of God. 

We cannot achieve true transformation, a total change of heart, without the initiative and action of God. That is where it all starts, and so I am not advocating some form of humanism here, but rather I want to point out that we have a responsibility to nurture and grow this wonderful gift that God has given to us.

To be disciplined means to be good stewards of the miracle of salvation God has done for us.

What disciplines do we need in our lives in order to be good stewards of the new life we have in Christ Jesus?

I think a good place to start, because it comes right out of the Bible, are the four activities of Acts 2:42.

 I want to point out that the third activity, the breaking of bread, means the Lord’s Supper. This is a debatable issue, but in my study I have come to believe that is what it the phrase means in this context. One of the reasons I want to emphasis this is because it is important for us to have a way to re-commit our lives to God’s Kingdom after we have stumbled and sinned.

If we are going to mature as disciples of Christ Jesus then it is essential that we have in our lives certain disciplines that help teach our bodies to live by faith.

This is why one of the marks of mature Christians is their commitment to certain activities that help them stay connected to Christ. If we are to follow their example then we need to have similar activities as a part of our lives.

Isn’t it about time that we live a disciplined life?

Friday, April 24, 2020

Protect Yourself with Disciplines

All of us have those days when we don't feel like doing much of anything.

It could be the result of:

Not having a good night sleep.

Experiencing loneliness.

Feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities.

The presence of trouble in a relationship.

Or, depression settling in.

Whatever the reason maybe, we all have those days when we don't want to face the world.

I think that is one of the danger of being at home during the Covid-19 pandemic. The activities, projects, and relationships that keep us motivated and positive are not available to us. Working at home and Netflix now feel tedious. We have to be on our guard to protect our hearts and minds.

One of the best things we can do for our spiritual and mental health is to establish routines. These routines help us to get moving and thinking in ways that are productive and healthy.

Christians throughout history have found value in spiritual disciplines. Spiritual disciplines are practices, found and adapted from Scripture, that help strengthen our relationship with God and mature our faith. 

This same principle can be applied to other areas of our lives. Daily exercise, taking vitamins, following a sleep routine, taking a nap, and journaling are all examples of  disciplines that we can add to our lives that provide a sense of routine and focus to our lives. 

Disciplines, whether they are spiritual or not, help give focus to our days, and provide meaning when the rest of the day seems meaningless.

Since we know we will have days when our self-discipline gives out, it is important for us to have a routine that will get us moving in the right direction. 

For us who follow Jesus we need to set aside time each day to connect with God. We do this by reading and meditating on Scripture, praying, and journaling. By having a daily routine we become intentional about our spiritual formation, we create a time to reorient our focus, and we provide steps to help us keep moving forward in life.

I have come to discover how vital disciplines are in my life. As a guy who likes routine, they give me a path to follow as I go through my day. They also give me any opportunity to connect with God when I would rather spend more time in bed. 

We need disciplines in our lives, not because we want to show people how spiritual we are, but because with out them we will disconnect ourselves from God,  our source of life. 

For the sake of life and to grow in our relationship with God, we need to have spiritual disciplines in our lives. We cannot live a life of faith without them.

The Spiritually Mature Life: Having the Fruit

On Sunday, April 7, 2024, I started a new sermon series at Bethlehem Church called A Spiritually Mature Life. This sermon series is focused ...