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Why Do We Need Spiritual Disciplines?

You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

Deuteronomy 5:15

Watch Week One, Day Four

Yesterday we noted that Jesus, the perfect Son of God, practiced the spiritual disciplines throughout His life. If Jesus, who never sinned, incorporated the disciplines as a way of life, how much more do we need them?

The Lord knows we are a forgetful people. We forget what He has done for us, both the big and small things. So when we face a new challenge, we often fall back into fear. We forget the incomprehensible magnitude of His grace, His love, and His patience toward us. But God meets us where we are. Throughout Scripture, He encourages us to remember. That’s partly what spiritual disciplines do; they help us remember by incorporating intentional moments into our daily lives.

a call to remember

In Deuteronomy 5:15, while explaining the Ten Commandments, Moses told Israel, “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day” (esv). For Israel, remembering the Sabbath was directly linked with remembering what God had done for them in the past.

Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He assured His disciples that the Holy Spirit would help them remember His words. He told them, “the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26 esv). Jesus knew we would need help remembering what He’d taught us, and through this verse He reassures us that the Holy Spirit will be there to help us too.

So how do the spiritual disciplines relate to remembering? They help us establish rhythms of life that regularly remember the Lord. These practices create routine times in our daily lives in which we can reconnect with Him and recall all He is doing and has done for us. By remembering, we grow in our faith. And, over time, we start to look more and more like Christ. The more we look like Him, the more we long for Him. In the simplest terms, the spiritual disciplines are how we remember and enjoy Jesus.

proven spiritual practices

Generations of believers who have come before us have handed down these tried and true practices known as spiritual disciplines. The twelve we will study are not new fads or the latest trends. They are ancient but simple traditions that help us remember God and grow spiritually. We see them throughout both Scripture and church history. Each discipline can look slightly different in various cultures and time periods, but the basics remain the same. Those who have come before us point to these practices as the way to know God and enjoy Him.

If we are brave enough to follow in their footsteps, we’ll find the spiritual disciplines are simply tools—but powerful tools nonetheless. These acts themselves don’t make us holy; only the Holy Spirit can make us look more like Jesus. But practices such as prayer, fasting, and solitude (among others) help us remove the distractions of our everyday lives, allowing us to hear the Spirit and obey Him.

the ancient path to abundant life

Jesus told His disciples that He came so we may “have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). If you were to take a good, hard look at your life, would you say you’re experiencing the abundant life, the easy and light yoke Jesus spoke of (Matthew 11:30)? Would you say that no matter your circumstances, you have a deep-seated joy in Christ? Perhaps you’ve tried all the latest techniques—the list-making, the goal-setting, the calendaring system. While these may help you accomplish tasks, none of them can bring you the freedom and joy you long for in your soul. Instead, we invite you to try something simple and ancient: the spiritual practices that followers of Christ have pointed to for thousands of years as the way to know Him better and enjoy Him more.


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Daily Question

Do you ever struggle to remember what God has done for you? What helps you remember?

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Comments (10)

Meditating on the name of "Jesus" saying it over and over again…One simple but powerful word "Jesus" How can we not think and remember by just saying His holy and precious name.

I walk in the goodness of God today because…….and I am always amazed at what Holy Spirit brings to my mind about all the good things God has done for me. Amazed at my forgetfulness. Amazed at His grace.

No. I know where I was, and the emptiness on my heart is gone and replaced with his love. His peace in my heart grounds me out everyday. I thank God every day that he saved a wretch like me.

I do all the time and I most likely will continue to do so, and I think simple things remind me. weather it is a blue jay, or a nice gesture from someone or a beautiful scenery. An affirmation on my phone that I feel comes straight from him

I forget often how much he has done for us, sending his only son to teach and lead a sinless life only to die on the cross for us to have eternal life and have all our sins forgiven once and for all… reading my bible, listening to worship music throughout the day, praying, spending time alone, are all ways that help me remember what he has done for me

Being in the word daily. I have calendars at work with Bible verses to meditate on through out my day to keep him close.

Yes I do more often than not. But when I hear other’s testimonies, when I see the goodness of God on and over other people..I remember my own story of how He saved me. I remember every moment He showed up in darkness and how He has transformed my life from darkness to life. And I become so full of joy and grateful for both.

Yes, I have grown up in church my whole life, that’s a really good thing; but at the same time I think Jesus dying starts to lose it meaning. So sometimes I just forget and move on with my life. I do still need to find a spiritual practice that will help me remember.

If I start by intentionally remembering one or two things and pray for the Holy Spirit to bring more to my memory, I find it begins as a small trickle. Eventually they begin to come at a rapid pace and I realize how forgetful I am and pray to make me more away of His benefits and His goodness.

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