“The road to spiritual maturity always passes through the spiritual disciplines” – Donald Whitney.
When I was a freshman at LSU, I was given a little pamphlet by my discipleship group called “Quiet Time” by NavPress. Our group leader said, “After you read this, you’re going to see the importance of a daily time alone with God.” He was right, and I’ve made it my goal to have a daily “quiet time” ever since.
Along the way, I have read several books about the spiritual disciplines as I’ve sought to grow myself and help others to grow in Christ-likeness. In this blog post, I want to share some observations that I’ve made about the spiritual disciplines by answering three questions.
Why The Spiritual Disciplines?
The spiritual disciplines help us to grow in Christ-likeness. In fact, that is God’s purpose for every believer, to become more like Christ. Notice what Paul says in Romans 8:29; “For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” I believe that God is using all the experiences of our lives to share us and make us more like Jesus.
Of course, our maturity will never be complete until we see Him face to face. 1 John 3:2 says, “Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when he appears, we will be like him because we will see him as he is.” Until that glorious day, we should strive to be holy and set apart for the Lord. Consider also what the writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 12:14; “Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness—without it no one will see the Lord.”
How Do We Pursue Holiness?
Notice what the Apostle Paul says in 1 Timothy 4:7; “But have nothing to do with pointless and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness.” One way we pursue holiness is to spend uninterrupted, unhurried time with God; basking in His presence and beholding His beauty. Look at what Paul also told the church at Corinth; “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.” He says we are changed by “looking at the glory of the Lord.” Catching a fresh glimpse of Jesus in all His glory!
At this point I must share that I don’t mean going through the motions. Listen to Richard Foster, “By themselves, the spiritual disciplines can do nothing. But they can get us to a place where something can be done.” In other words, the spiritual disciplines are not an end in and of themselves. They are a means to an end, spending quality time with God.
What Are The Spiritual Disciplines?
The spiritual disciplines are those personal and corporate practices that lead to spiritual maturity in a believers life. Someone has said, “They are those habits of devotion that have been practiced by believers since the church began.”
I love what Donald Whitney says in his book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, “The disciplines are the God given means for the spirit filled pursuit of godliness.”
I am so thankful that the Lord Jesus allows us to not only to serve and accomplish works for His name and His Kingdom, but that the King longs for us to spend uninterrupted, unhurried time alone with Him.