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Spiritual Disciplines

Posted by Colby Kinser on

Spiritual disciplines are a set of habits that help a Christian follow Christ more faithfully, collaborating with Christ’s work of completing us (Php 1:6). They are not inherently meritorious, but rather are tools. There is no fixed or mandatory list of disciplines, but many mirror the habits and teachings of Jesus, such as prayer (Mt 14:23; 26:36-42; Lk 3:21; 5:16 9:18; Jn 17; Hb 5:7), extended times alone with God (Lk 6:12), meditation and reliance on the Word of God (Mt 4:1-11), self-denial (Mt 4:1-11), simplicity (Mt 6:33-34), generosity (Acts 20:35), and joining with others for teaching, worship, community life, and mission (Mt 16:18; 18:19-20; Mk 6:2, 34; Lk 4:16; Jn 1:39). An additional discipline Jesus taught, but had no need to practice Himself, is repentance (Mt 4:17; Lk 5:32; Lk 17:3-4; 24:47).

Stewardship is using or managing someone else’s property as they would do so themselves (Mt 25:14-30; Lk 12:42-48; 16:1-13). Christian stewardship pertains to money (Mt 6:20, 24-25; Lk 19:11-27), property (Mt 6:30; Lk 12:28), time (Eph 5:16), our bodies (1 Cor 3:16-17; 6:15-20; 2 Cor 7:1), and most importantly, the Gospel (1 Cor 9:17; Gal 2:7; 1 Thess 2:4; 1 Tim 1:11, 6:20; 2 Tim 1:14; 2:2; Titus 1:3). Stewardship begins with acknowledging that God owns everything, not just 10% (Ps 24:1; 50:10; Hag 2:8), and that our goal is to please Him not people (1 Th 2:4). Personal practices of stewardship can also include regular exercise (1 Cor 9:25-27), a moderate diet (1 Cor 6.19-20), and staying debt-free (Prv 22:7).

The phrase moral purity can refer to business ethics (Prv 16:11), truth-telling (Exo 20:16), and the like, but most often refers to sexual purity. Sexuality activity is limited to marriage (Hb 13:4), but Jesus equates even entertaining lust in one’s heart with adultery (Mt 5:28). Key to maintaining moral purity in all areas is to be satisfied in Christ and in His provision (Php 4.11). Personal practices can include the self-discipline to look away from people or images of people that elicit lust, keeping the computer screen visible, making sure your spouse has all your passwords, keeping all meetings with the opposite gender in accountable scenarios, and giving notice to your spouse of all such meetings (who, time, place, and general purpose) One great piece of counsel I have collected is to let there be nothing about me that is unknown by at least one other person.

Tags: prayer, habits, spiritual disciplines

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