Text: Matt 6:25-34, Col 3:5-10.
Discipline is training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behaviour. Spiritual discipline is a component of the Christian life. It involves behaviours that augment ones’ spiritual growth and enables one to mature spiritually. It involves taking off the "old self" and putting the "new self". Col 3:9-10, that is, moving away from sin and putting on the nature and character of God. It is a necessary practise to foster spiritual health and awareness of God.
To excel in life, discipline is required. Equally spiritual discipline is necessary to be spiritually fulfilled; it is like a tool that aids you in your spiritual walk. The activities involved in spiritual discipline must be geared towards developing your faith and having total dependency on God. They are to enable one achieve spiritual maturity, excellence and to be fully established in Christ; over time the benefits of these activities help the individual to be spiritually disciplined which ultimately builds a strong faith. Also, they transform the individual into a good disciple and ambassador of Jesus Christ.
Some activities involved are:
1. Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. Matt 6:37
2. Whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not unto men. Col 3:23.
3. Studying the word and meditating on it day and night. Josh 1:8
4. Pray without ceasing. 1 Thess 5:17
5. Give thanks in all circumstances; live a life of thanksgiving. 1 Thess 5:18.
6. Fasting to seek the face of the Lord. Matt 4:2.
7. Cultivate the habit of waiting to hear from the Lord after your personal quite time. Ps 37:7a.
8. Love others as Jesus loved you. Jhn 13:34.
9. Intercede for others despite personal needs and overwhelming challenges. 2 Cor 1:11.
10. Think not too highly of yourself more than any other person. Rom 12:3.
11. Have a regular self-audit/examination. 1 Cor 10:12.
12. Live by faith. 2 Cor 5:7.
13. Devote yourself to the ministry of the word and live by it. Acts 6:4
The benefits of the above are:
1. Being spiritually disciplined helps you to keep your relationship with God and to seek greater intimacy with Him.
2. It helps you to overcome a sinful nature.
3. It helps you to grow in grace.
4. It brings about a positive change in you and aligns you with God's purpose.
5. You need the grace of God and the help of the Holy Spirit to be spiritually disciplined.
However, you are admonished to avoid spiritual arrogance and self-righteousness as these can work against your being spiritually disciplined and ultimately destroy your spiritual life. Out of self-righteousness you may be "playing God" and wanting to share His glory. Jesus said we should not practise our righteousness before others to get noticed. Matt 6:1. Do not boast in your own righteousness but in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Spiritual arrogance is spiritual pride and this can lead to total downfall and rejection by God. Hence you are admonished against them.
Dear Lord, kindly release your grace unto me so that I can be spiritually disciplined. Make it easy for me to be able to carry out these activities in Jesus' name I pray. Amen