Before we jump into the specific spiritual disciplines, let’s take some time to prepare ourselves. Perhaps you’re already familiar with spiritual disciplines and this study will be a refresher course. Maybe you’ve never heard of them before. Either way, it’s wise to take a moment to assess where each of us stands before we begin.
Disciplines Covered in Enjoying Jesus
The twelve disciplines we’ll study are: prayer, confession, meditation, study, fasting, sabbath, silence, solitude, simplicity, giving, service, and worship. Some of these, like prayer and worship, will probably feel more familiar to you. Others, like meditation and silence, may surprise you. Which of these practices are you instantly drawn to? Are there any that make you hesitate? Perhaps you’ve already tried a few before. Take a few minutes to think through each of our twelve disciplines and list any assumptions or preconceived ideas you may have. Ask the Lord to help you begin the study with an open mind and heart to see how these practices can help you grow spiritually.
Reflecting Before Beginning
Practicing each of the disciplines will reveal insights into your own spiritual walk. As we begin, take a few moments to assess your spiritual life as it is now. What has the Lord been teaching you the past few months? Where has He been asking you to grow? How would you describe your spiritual life right now? By the time we reach the end of the study, what would you like to see happen in your relationship with God?
As we’ve discussed, spiritual disciplines are tools that help us put ourselves in a position to be more open and available to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. The disciplines don’t save us—only Jesus’ work on the cross can save us. They don’t make us any holier on their own—only the Holy Spirit makes us holy.
a word of caution
Whenever we turn our attention to a more practical aspect of our faith, we face the danger of beginning to take pride in our actions. If you start to feel pride over checking off each discipline or even guilt for not doing the discipline “correctly,” it’s time to pause. Any thoughts along those lines need to be taken before the Lord in prayer. Ask Him to remind you that the disciplines are intended to help you grow closer and enjoy Him—not fulfill any sort of spiritual checklist.
Spend the next few minutes asking the Lord to prepare you for the next few weeks. Ask Him to help you be attentive to His prompting as you learn about each discipline. There may be some moments that feel uncomfortable. That’s okay. Most of us aren’t used to intentionally sitting in silence, for instance. But there are treasures to be found in those moments.
a quieter, simpler way
Over the next few weeks, we’ll see how the spiritual disciplines offer us a different approach to daily life. They offer us a quieter, simpler way. These are the small things that others rarely see. But these things will have a tremendous impact on our walk with God, and that peace will become apparent to others in our outward lives. When we are enjoying Jesus fully and living the abundant life He has called us to, we will be changed—and others won’t be able to help but notice.
What do you hope to gain through this study?
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