Spiritual disciplines are those practices that lead to habits created to develop, grow and build up our spiritual life. These practices have been done by many individuals since the dawn of earth.
Spiritual disciplines are done with the goal of becoming just like Jesus and assist in our ability to walk with God and talk with God which is what we we refer to as intimacy. What they are not is another set of standards or rules that are done in order to have better performance as a follower of Jesus. As Richard Foster puts it “God has given us the Disciplines of the spiritual life as a means of receiving his grace. The Disciplines allow us to place ourselves before God so that he can transform us.”
Warriors are disciplined men and women who take seriously the call of Jesus to set the captives free and they know this starts with a life steeped in practicing the spiritual disciplines so that they become healthy robust habits.
Spiritual Disciplines of Abstinence
The disciplines of abstinence are the ones that we abstain from doing certain things in our lives. They are done with the goal of removing those things in our lives that would become a god or idol. It is in removing things in our lives that would compete with God we are then opening ourselves up to receive the great and awesome things that He has for us. Some examples of abstinence are:
- Frugality or simplicity
The Disciplines of Engagement
These are the disciplines that cause us to be engage our spirit and with Holy Spirit. In a world of being busy, of unending noise and the clamoring for our attention purposeful disciplined engagement with Jesus causes us to hear more clearly from Him as we talk with God and have conversational intimacy with Him. Some examples of engagement are:
When we practice a discipline of engagement we also need to marry it with a discipline of abstinence. For example prayer married with fasting, or meditation with solitude. Abstinence needs to be balanced with engagement otherwise we are just doing one or the other for the sake of performance.
A great example of how the disciplines grow us is how we now know through the study of the brain that when we take time to think long and deep in meditation about the Truth found in God’s Word and we meditate on it over and over then it begins to reshape our brains. This reshaping creates new healthy neural pathways in our physical brains which becomes a long term healthy thought in our minds. This is the physiological change in our brain in which the result is referred to in scripture as “having the mind of Christ”.
If you want to learn more about the spiritual disciplines there are some great books written on this subject. A couple we recommend are Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard and Celebration of the Disciplines by Richard Foster. If you want to learn how to put these into practice then join the next Locker Room for Women or Warrior Company for Men.