Restoring the Spiritual Disciplines
Spiritual Disciplines, when viewed through the lens of God's abundant Grace and the practice of advancing God’s Kingdom, become transformative means through which FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST may draw closer to God, experience His presence, and become more Christlike.
"You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are punished by Him; For whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He punishes every son whom He accepts.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8ut if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. For the moment, all discipline seems not to be pleasant, but painful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Hebrews 12:4-11
Reviving and restoring the Spiritual Disciplines in the Body of Christ is paramount. Practicing the Spiritual Disciplines reconnects us to the transformative power of God's abundant Grace, enabling us to become true disciples of Jesus Christ. Failing to do so would mean forfeiting the opportunity for genuine spiritual growth and maturity.
Without Spiritual Disciplines, we risk a shallow and superficial faith that lacks the depth needed to impact our lives and the world around us. The consequence of this failure is a weakened and ineffective LOCAL church, unable to fulfill our calling to be SALT and LIGHT in a world desperate for the message of God's love and redemption.
Without practicing the Spiritual Disciplines on an ongoing basis, we would miss out on the abundant life and the true discipleship journey that Christ has called us to, settling for a life far below the extraordinary and fulfilling existence He desires for us. Think about that for a second.
Training for Reigning
“Training for Reigning" is a concept that embodies the idea of preparing and equipping BELIEVERS to live in alignment with God's kingdom principles and values, ultimately reflecting the reign of Christ on the throne of their hearts.
"We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ," 2 Corinthians 10:5
This training is rooted in the foundation of Spiritual Disciplines and understanding God's unconditional and abundant Grace.
"but I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified." 1 Corinthians 9:27
Spiritual Discipline does not “in and of itself” make us closer to God. Someone can memorize the entire New Testament and still be meaner than a Hornet’s nest. We are SAVED BY GRACE ALONE.
"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will achieve success." Joshua 1:8
Being “disciplined” by practicing Spiritual Disciplines does not get us any closer to God. However, by continually practicing Spiritual Disciplines, we remain equipped to be used by God when He chooses to do so.
"For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7
Spiritual Disciplines are not about us but about Jesus, the King, and SERVING IN His Kingdom.
"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. So they do it to obtain a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way as not to run aimlessly; I box in such a way, as to avoid hitting air;" 1 Corinthians 9:24-26
Spiritual Disciplines are practices or habits that enable FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST to draw closer to God, allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us into Christlikeness and deepen our relationship with Him.
"for it is God who is at work in you, both to desire and to work for His good pleasure." Philippians 2:13
Typically, Spiritual Disciplines include prayer, Bible study, worship, fasting, meditation, and others. But there is so much more to practicing the WAY OF JESUS.
"Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent." Revelations 3:19
When engaged and empowered by God's Grace alone, Spiritual Disciplines become more than mere obligations or religious rituals but acts of Grace themselves. DISCIPLES OF JESUS engage in them not to earn God's favor but to position themselves to receive more of His abundant Grace.
"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4
God's unconditional and abundant Grace is the foundation upon which "Training for Reigning" is built. It recognizes that God's love, favor, and forgiveness are freely given, not based on our merit or efforts.
"For you have been bought for a price: therefore glorify God in your body." 1 Corinthians 6:20
His Grace empowers Apprentices of Jesus Christ to pursue Spiritual Disciplines not out of fear or obligation but out of love and gratitude for what God has already provided through His Grace.
"But stay away from worthless stories that are typical of old women. Rather, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;" 1 Timothy 4:7
The Spiritual Discipline Basics
In the context of "Training for Reigning," the Spiritual Disciplines become tools for embracing and embodying God's Grace more fully. The following represents the basic disciplines.
Prayer: Through prayer, DISCIPLES communicate with God, seeking His guidance, strength, and presence. In the Grace perspective, prayer is an opportunity to REST IN God's love, knowing He hears and answers our prayers out of His abundant Grace working through LOVE.
Bible Study: Studying God's Word DAILY allows BELIEVERS to understand His character, promises, and Grace more deeply. It is a means to align our lives with His truth and experience the transforming power of His Grace.
Worship: Worship is an expression of absolute gratitude and deep heart thankfulness for God's Grace and a way to encounter His presence. It reminds us of His unmerited favor as He hears our prayers and fills our hearts with awe and reverence.
Fasting: Fasting is a practice of self-denial that can help us break free from worldly attachments and dependencies stored in our bodies. Fasting allows us to practice relying on God's Grace for sustenance and strength.
Meditation: Meditation on God's Word and His Grace enables BELIEVERS to renew their minds and align their thoughts with His truth. Meditating on God’s Word leads to a deeper understanding of God's love and acceptance.
Rest: Sabbath, or REST, is a deliberate practice of setting aside a dedicated time for rest, reflection, and rejuvenation in God's presence. It involves ceasing from work, worries, and distractions to enter a state of restful trust in God's GRACE. Sabbath is a sacred pause that allows us to experience the restorative Grace of God, nurturing our spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being, and deepening our intimacy with Him.
Silence: Silence is the practice of intentionally quieting our inner and outer voices to create space for listening to God's whispers and experiencing His presence in the stillness.
Generosity: Generosity is the act of giving freely and cheerfully, not just of material possessions but also of time, love, and compassion, reflecting God's abundant Grace and love to others.
Celebration: Celebration is the Spiritual Discipline of rejoicing in God's goodness and faithfulness, regardless of circumstances, and expressing gratitude and joy in worship, acknowledging His constant presence in our lives.
Service: Service for Others is the Spiritual Discipline of selflessly and humbly serving those in need, mirroring Christ's example of love and compassion by meeting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of others, ultimately reflecting God's Grace and Kingdom values in action.
Through the consistent DAILY practice of these Spiritual Disciplines, FOLLOWERS of CHRIST are being transformed into the image of Christ. We become vessels through which God's Grace flows into the world, impacting our community and reflecting the reign of Christ in our lives.
"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord and not for people," Colossians 3:23
"Training for Reigning" is not about acquiring earthly power or authority but about becoming ambassadors of God's kingdom, extending His love, Grace, and mercy to a broken world. It's about living out the truth that, as followers of Christ, we are already citizens of heaven and heirs to His eternal kingdom, thanks to His abundant and unconditional Grace.
"Set your minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth." Colossians 3:2
More of God!
A Spiritual Discipline is a regularly repeated practice that can, both personally and communally, enrich our attentiveness to the Holy Spirit and cultivate the life and character of Jesus Christ IN US. Practicing Spiritual Disciplines strengthens our trust in God and radically increases our love and compassion for others. Present yourself CONSTANTLY to God as one being alive from the dead, ready and able to serve the King in His Kingdom.
"Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:1-2
Here, I'll share some of the more fun DAILY Spiritual Disciplines described in the context of God's Grace:
Humility: Humility recognizes our complete dependence on God's Grace. It involves acknowledging our limitations, surrendering our pride, and trusting in God's wisdom and sovereignty. Through humility, we allow God to work in and through us, acknowledging that His Grace is sufficient for all our needs.
Gratitude: Gratitude is an attitude of thankfulness for all that God has given us. It involves recognizing that every good and perfect gift comes from Him. Practicing gratitude allows us to focus on His Grace and blessings, cultivating a heart of contentment and joy.
Trust: Trust is the confident reliance on God's faithfulness and goodness. It involves surrendering all our anxieties and worries to Him, knowing that He cares for us. Trusting in God's Grace means relying on His provision, guidance, and protection in all aspects of life.
Patience: Patience is the ability to endure difficulties and challenges with a calm and trusting spirit. It involves waiting on God's timing and purposes, even when things seem uncertain. Through patience, we learn to trust in God's Grace to sustain us during seasons of waiting and testing.
Surrender: Surrender is the act of yielding control of our lives to God's will. It means acknowledging that His plans are higher and better than our own. Surrendering to God's Grace involves letting go of our desires and agendas and allowing Him to lead us in His perfect way.
Contentment: Contentment is finding satisfaction, joy, and peace in God alone, regardless of external circumstances. It involves recognizing that God's Grace is sufficient to meet all our needs and desires. Contentment allows us to live with a sense of inner peace and fulfillment.
Compassion: Compassion is showing love and mercy to others, just as God has shown us His Grace and mercy. It involves extending Grace to those in need and demonstrating Christ's love through acts of kindness, forgiveness, and empathy.
Servanthood: Servanthood is willingly serving others with a humble and selfless attitude, following Jesus' example. It involves using our gifts and resources to bless and serve others, reflecting God's Grace in practical ways.
Worship: Worship is the act of acknowledging God's worthiness and majesty. It involves recognizing His Grace and responding with adoration, praise, and devotion. Worship deepens our connection with God and reminds us of His abundant Grace.
Integrity: Integrity is living a life of honesty and moral character, reflecting God's Grace in our actions and decisions. It involves aligning our values and behavior with God's truth and Grace, seeking to live a life that honors Him.
"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?" 1 Corinthians 6:19
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