The Idea of Spiritual Disciplines 

I define Spiritual Disciplines as the practice that we engage in to connect us and grow us in our relationship with God. This is a topic you can spend years reading and studying about. Honestly, I think as men and followers of Jesus this is a topic that we need to continue to think, wrestle with, process, and learn about for the rest of our journey here on Earth. I want to give you two quick thoughts around Spiritual Disciplines.

The first thought is know who you are.

How do we bring our authentic selves to the table? That is what I would really encourage you with in terms of the Spiritual Disciplines: is to know yourself. You may at some point have seen someone else’s spiritual journey and have seen their practices, thinking to yourself, “Wow, he is so good at that. He’s so consistent.” As a result, you might have felt shame around your own journey. I know this has been my experience a number of times throughout my relationship with God. You’ll compare yourself to a mentor, friend or pastor who may be good at staying consistent with Spiritual Disciplines and believing yourself not to be good at them. 

Here is what I want you to think about: Spiritual Disciplines are not one-size-fits-all. What works for one person in their relationship with God, may not work the same in someone else’s faith relationship. 

Gary Thomas, is a Christian author with a book called Sacred Pathways. In it he outlines nine different ways that people connect with God. There are quizzes based on his principles available to understand your way of connecting with God. You got to find out your wiring.

Are you a morning person or an evening person?

Do you enjoy learning or sitting and thinking?

Do you enjoy prayer or do you enjoy to be actively involved in something?

All of those things can determine the spiritual practices and disciplines that will help you connect best with God. 

The second thought is this: to start where you are.

I realize that most of us are not starting; we have already started at some point engaging in our relationship with God and in these practices. 

All of us wherever we are, that’s where we need to start moving forward in our relationship with Him. I recently read a book called Atomic Habits by James Clear. One thing that he recommends when wanting to change habits is to start small. Oftentimes when we are trying to develop some new habit, we’ll try to change some massive part of our lives in 30 days and it’s just not sustainable. 

Big changes are hard but making them into small changes can be manageable.

You make one small change then can make another change then another, before you know it six months, one year, two years have passed and you have made a large change in habits in your life. You do not have to be reading entire books of the Bible and spending hours in prayer by tomorrow. You can start small with 5 minutes of prayers and 1-2 scriptures to think about and process. 

No need to fake it. You can be honest with God because it will benefit you in the process. God knows your story. He knows your shortcomings, he knows things in your life that you haven’t told anybody. He knows things going on in your dating relationships, friendships, work, marriage, family life that you might be a little ashamed of. 

He knows all those things, God still loves you.

He’s your heavenly father and he wants good things for you. He wants to continue to lead you in the direction of the life he has for you. Just be honest with him.

So,

Know who you are

Know your wiring

Know the disciplines that will make you come alive in your faith

Start where you are

No need to make all the changes at once

Start small and move forward

That’s ultimately what we want you to experience as you engage in the Spiritual Disciplines. As you do, you will get to know your Heavenly Father more. He transforms you more and more into the man He wants you to be.

 

-Adam Johnson

Lead Pastor, Browns Bridge Church

 


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