Spiritual Disciplines

“All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.” I Corinthians 9:25 (NLT)

We don’t really like the word “discipline.” It means, well, it means that something requires restraint, training, hard work, and decisive steps toward a goal. Much like choosing to set boundaries for a rhythmic life, spiritual disciplines bring us more freedom and more vitality. Even in spite of the word and the practice we must use—discipline.

Walking forward toward greater maturity requires that we willingly choose to enter and engage in spiritual disciplines. Here are some spiritual disciplines the Scriptures point us to that better help us sync our lives to God’s timing and agenda:

Prayer and study will fuel us. However, there are a host of practices that will also fan the flame of growing intimacy with God.

Fasting. Abstaining from food for two meals one day a week. Turning off social media and other electronic communications for a day, a week, or a month.

Solitude. Creating space on a monthly basis where we unplug and retreat for 24 hours. Being still, being quiet, not talking. Learning to be alone with God and our own thoughts.

Community. Purposefully involving ourselves with the Body of Christ. Stepping out of comfort zones and knowing others and allowing others to know us.

Physical exercise. Training our bodies helps to foster clearer thinking, emotional wholeness, and improved physical functioning.

Rest. Allowing our bodies and minds to rest in a routine fashion, both in a daily pattern of sleeping and waking, as well as, extended periods of resting and replenishing.

Recreation. Play is so critical to our health and wholeness, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. The discipline of play is as important to adults as to young children.

Service. Living outside of ourselves and outside of our regular bubbles of routine and community lends to an expansion of seeing the world with God’s eyes, to increasing our heart capacity for a world in need of the hope of Christ.

Maturing takes discipline … as athletes … and as people who want to run well the race God has set in front of them. It is the more difficult way, but it’s worth every bit of tenacity it takes to live it.

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