We’ve already seen that God uses circumstances and people as the first two catalysts in our lives to grow us spiritually. These two catalysts help to grow us from the outside in. Now we will consider how God uses the spiritual disciplines to grow us from the inside out. As we begin, I want to be clear to remind you that the spiritual disciplines are not an end unto themselves. They are a means to an end, that is, to grow us in Godliness. The Apostle Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:7, (NASB) …discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.
Donald Whitney in his classic book on the disciplines, “Spiritual Disciplines For The Christian Life” declares, “The road to spiritual growth always passes through the spiritual disciplines.” Why do you suppose he would make such a statement? Because this has been the experience of believers throughout the ages, since the beginning.
The Renewed Mind
The chief spiritual discipline of the Christian life is Bible intake. Hearing the Word of God proclaimed, reading the Word, studying the Word, memorizing the Word, meditating on the Word and applying the Word. This discipline impacts all of the other disciplines in a believer’s life. Bible intake helps us to see things from God’s perspective and from His viewpoint. Consider Romans 12:1-2 (CSB):
Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
Notice the sharp contrast here between being “conformed to this world” and being “transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Only when we spend time saturating our minds with God’s Word will we “renew our minds.” We will begin to see and understand things from God’s viewpoint.
Beholding His Glory
Consider 2 Corinthians 3:18 (CSB), We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.
This verse is Paul’s conclusion to chapter three where he talks about Moses coming into the presence of God on the mountain and having to cover his face with a veil because the glory of God still shone on his face.
When you and I practice the spiritual disciplines, we “behold His glory” and the Holy Spirit transforms us from one degree of glory to another. As we spend time with the Lord Jesus in prayer and the Word, in worship, in fasting, in service to His Kingdom, to evangelism and the other disciplines, we commune with Him. We catch a fresh glimpse of His glory and are changed more into His likeness.