Spiritual Disciplines

Study, mediation, and prayer and necessary spiritual disciplines of every disciple. We can see this in action as Jesus led His disciples through His ministry and taught them in the way they should go. Jesus took them by the hand for years teaching them, developing them, transforming them according to who they were and who they would become in Christ. The day Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount was the day Jesus asked them to begin the practice of what He had taught them. Jesus was preparing them for their call. We are not different. Jesus begins teaching us by exposing us to His Word. He gives us multiple opportunities to read and learn the Gospel. Meditation on the Word of God allows us to absorb fuller meanings, underlying principles and creates a firm foundation of our belief. Pray is also an integral aspect of spiritual discipline. Pray is talking to God, and we should always pray expectantly that God will reveal what He wants us to know about what we seek of Him. The circumstances and temptations of the disciple help us to mature. We are all born of sin and we need to find our faith and put it in action to overcome the things in life which keep us from reaching our fullest potential in God. The new habits a disciple employs are habits that include daily prayer and meditation on His Word as well as living a life devoted to the study of the Bible. We must submit ourselves to the position of being a follower of Jesus. We must accept Him as the Lord of our lives and allow Him to breathe fresh life into us so we can draw near to Him and learn from Him to be all that He has called us to be. We must understand salvation, live by His grace, and see His mercy flow over our lives in order to free ourselves from the bondages of sin and death. Christ reveals our identity in Him, and it is only when we accept our true identity are we able to activate those Christ-promised conquering habits and actions that allow us to navigate the temporal and secure our eternal life in Him. The one thing I can do as a believer is to lovingly accept what Jesus has done for me and for all of us and remain in that abiding space that He created for each of us. This is where our strength comes from, this is where our identity is. We can learn habits, and we can all learn new ways according to God. The saying that ‘practice makes perfect’ is never more true. Sometimes we have to just practice our faith until it becomes part of our nature. There are times when we are going to get it wrong and God allows for that because He gives us grace and mercy. This is not a license to sin, but it is rather the security we have in the sacrifice Jesus made that we seek to never take advantage of. I think that the more we know Jesus, and the more we come into an intimate relationship with Him, we want to do things that are pleasing to Him. This is what love is about at times, and it is an expression of our love for Him that we begin to change our old ways into His new ways for us. To wrestle in prayer means to give it all to God in prayer, to the point we are wearily in search of His truth. It is not a test God puts upon us, rather it is a test of ourselves to find our innermost heart for God. When we finally strip away all our own preconceived ideas about God and let Him speak His divine truth into us, are we then able to activate what Jesus promised He would do for us in the midst of any uncertainty or difficulty. The idea of ‘let go and let God’ is often misunderstood. It does not mean to do nothing. It means to do everything to stop ourselves from interfering with letting God be our God. At times God does want the disciple to persist in prayer. One reason is to allow for the perfect alignment of God into the situation. Just as Jesus taught us to pray we see how the first half is devoted to honoring God as being first and foremost in our prayer. Nothing shall precede the Glory of God. “The disciple should pray audaciously and with importunity.” (Sanders. Spiritual Discipleship. P. 109-110) Are you satisfied with your current prayer life? Do you see the transformation of your life? Do you see the results of being in constant communion with your Lord and Savior? In no way will you struggle with who He has made me to be. You will have greater effectiveness in all you do because you understand God’s order of things in this life.

"Pray audaciously and with importunity." (Sanders, J. Oswald. 1990). It is good to wrestle in prayer at times, and it is good to pray as if only God is listening.

References: Sanders, J.Oswald, 1990. Spiritual Discipleship. Moody Publishing. Chicago IL. (ch. 10,11,13)

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