Are you disciplined? If you are (or have been) in the military, you are probably disciplined. If you are a parent, you probably have disciplined your children. Most of us who are middle aged were disciplned when we were kids and it wasn't time out back then for most of us.
This blog posting is actually directed toward Christians. So if you are not a Christian, please go to My Testimony, The Ten Commandments or How to Be Saved tabs. If you are a Christian already, my question for you is: are you spiritually disciplined? Do you practice spiritual disciplnes? We should practice spiritual disciplnes because Jesus has given us eternal life, out of His love for us. Because you love Him back, you should be obedient to Christ. The word Christian means Christ-like. To be a follower of Jesus you need to be a disciple.
Richard Foster mentions a list of spiritual disciplines in his book Celebration of Discipline. He states the following list: meditation, prayer, fasting, study, simplicity, solitude, submission, service, confession, worship and guidance. (This isn't an all inclusive list, but it's a great place to start).
To meditate is to sincerely reflect on God's word by humbling yourself: by reading the Bible with a repentant and obedient heart. The Bible tells us that we are to memorize scriptures. We should pray to God by praising Him, asking for His forgiveness, praying for the needs of others and by praying for our needs.
You can fast by skipping a meal or two, or you can fast for days. Fasting helps us see how dependant on God we really are. Please remember to drink water while fasting. Foster breaks study down into four parts: repetition, concentration, comprehension and reflection. One form of study involves studying individual books of the Bible. In addition to studying God's word, you can also look at His handiwork in nature.
Simplicity starts with an inner focus that leads to an outward change per Foster. Only buy things that you really need, cut down (or better yet cut out) addictive things in your life, give some of your possessions away and shy away from anything that distracts you from God. Foster says that solitude is more of a state of mind than a place. We need to be silent, but we also need to listen to God.
Submission, we are to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and we are to love our neighbor unconditionally. Jesus showed these attributes by dying on the cross for us undeserving sinners. The least we can do is surrender fully to our Lord and Savior. In service, we don't serve others for selfish reasons, we serve others out of humility and obedience to God.
Confession - you need to confess your sins to God and you also need a devout Christian that you can confide in, someone who will hold you accountable. Worship is about honoring God. It is more about what we are giving to God than what God is giving to us. We should worship God in private and corporately (with other believers). We should praise and adore God. Guidance - the Holy Spirit guides us individually and corporately (believers who fellowship together). Please come to God with a humble heart and allow Him to guide you in all that you do. It's important to remember that God will never ask you to do something that goes against His word.
By following these spiritual disciplines you will draw closer to God. This will lead to your praising God. You should also share your faith with others. Go joyfully and teach others to follow Christ's commandments. Be spiritually disciplined and be a true disciple of Jesus Christ.