For the next few Sunday’s, until Resurrection Sunday, Pastor Scott Collins will be explaining some of the spiritual disciplines. To excel in anything in life discipline is required. This is true for athletes, musicians, plumbers, accountants, and disciples of Jesus. A discipline is something we can do that enables us to do what we haven’t yet been able to do by direct effort. Disciplines don’t set aside our need for grace nor do they earn us anything — they simply are means to help us be with Jesus to become like him.
If you cannot make it to all of the Sunday Services or if you just want to hear them again, you can visit the Worship Service Audio’s and expand the section on Spiritual Disciplines.
The Spiritual Disciplines List
Here are some main disciplines of abstinence and engagement that have been helpful to Christ-followers over the centuries. (There is no complete list of disciplines.)
Disciplines of Abstinence
These are ways of denying ourselves something we want or need in order to make space to focus on and connect with God.
- Solitude: Refraining from interacting with other people in order to be alone with God and be found by him. (Solitude is completed by silence.)
- Silence: Not speaking in a quiet place in order to quiet our minds and whole self and attend to God’s presence. Also, not speaking so that we can listen to others and bless them.
- Fasting: Going without food (or something else) for a period of intense prayer — the fast may be complete or partial.
- Sabbath: Doing no work to rest in God’s person and provision; praying and playing with God and others.
- Secrecy: Not making our good deeds or qualities known to let God or others receive attention and to find our sufficiency in God alone.
- Submission: Not asserting ourselves in order to come under the authority, wisdom, and power of Jesus Christ as our Lord, King, and Master. (Can include submitting to a person as unto Christ.)
Disciplines of Engagement
These are ways of connecting with God and other people, conversing honestly with them in order to love and be loved.
- Bible Reading: Trusting the Holy Spirit-inspired words of Scripture as our guide, wisdom, and strength for life.
- Worship: Praising God’s greatness, goodness, and beauty in words, music, ritual, or silence.
- Prayer: Conversing with God about what we’re experiencing and doing together.
- Soul Friendship: Engaging fellow disciples of Jesus in prayerful conversation or other spiritual practices.
- Personal Reflection: Paying attention to our inner self in order to grow in love for God, others, and self.
- Service: Humbly serving God by overflowing with his love and compassion to others, especially those in need.
* My thinking on this subject has been greatly influenced by Dallas Willard. His book, The Spirit of the Disciplines discusses the all-important vision and motivation behind the disciplines for the spiritual life in Christ, as well as teaching on individual practices.