This morning I began a series of messages that will continue through the month of January under the title “The Disciplines of Discipleship.” Strangely, some people do not seem to understand that discipline and discipleship are from the same root. A disciple is a learner. Discipline leads to a learned behavior. We readily understand the need to discipline ourselves for a proper swing with a golf club, but seemingly chaff at the idea of discipline in spiritual things. Salvation is a gift, but discipline is necessary for discipleship. Following Jesus means following him in his practices. Jesus practiced spiritual disciplines and we cannot afford to do less. We cannot reasonably expect meaningful life change without disciplined response to the things of the Lord. To be sure God has the power to change lives, but he chooses to use our cooperation with spiritual disciplines set on fire by the Holy Spirit to bring this change about. I promised a list in my message of the two categories of discipline and here they are:
THE DISCIPLINES OF ABSTINENCE ARE:
solitude, silence, fasting, frugality, chastity, secrecy, and sacrifice.
THE DISCIPLINES OF ENGAGEMENT ARE:
study, worship, celebration, service, prayer, fellowship, confession, submission
This list comes from Dallas Willard’s THE SPIRIT OF THE DISCIPLINES, a signature book on spiritual formation, and one of the best ever written on the subject.
These disciplines are taught and practiced by Jesus. If even the Son of God observed disciplines, how much more should we. Tune in on the website or by being in attendance and learn the meaning of 1 Timothy 4:7 – 8.
“Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”