Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney
Discipline without direction is drudgery.
God’s eternal plan ensures that every Christian will ultimately conform to Christlikeness.
Although God will grant Christlikeness to us when Jesus returns, until then He intends for us to grow toward it. We aren’t merely to wait for holiness; we’re to pursue it.
It’s crucial — crucial — to understand that it’s not our pursuit of holiness that qualifies us to see the Lord.
The presence of the Holy Spirit causes all those in whom He resides to have new holy hungers they didn’t have before.
Thus, as we have seen in Hebrews 12: 14, anyone who is not striving for holiness will not see the Lord. And the reason he or she will not see the Lord in eternity is because he or she does not know the Lord now, for those who know Him are given His Holy Spirit, and all those indwelled by the Holy Spirit are compelled to pursue holiness.
The Spiritual Disciplines are those practices found in Scripture that promote spiritual growth among believers in the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are the habits of devotion and experiential Christianity that have been practiced by the people of God since biblical times.
Others may be equally deceived into thinking that they’ll make sufficient spiritual progress if they are deeply involved in the life of their church, believing that somehow their participation in meaningful church activities will compensate for the lack of a personal devotional life.
Spiritual Disciplines are activities, not attitudes.
Disciplines are commended in Scripture: Bible intake, prayer, worship, evangelism, service, stewardship, fasting, silence and solitude, journaling, and learning.
Spiritual Disciplines are means, not ends. The end — that is, the purpose of practicing the Disciplines — is godliness. I define godliness as both closeness to Christ and conformity to Christ, a conformity that’s both inward and outward, a growing conformity to both the heart of Christ and the life of Christ. This Christlikeness is the goal, the reason we should practice the Disciplines.
The desire and the power for them are produced by the grace of God. But Christians themselves must practice the Disciplines.
To go to your favorite spot for prayer or journaling, for example, is the spiritual equivalent of going to a gym and using a weight machine.
Think of the Spiritual Disciplines as ways by which we can spiritually place ourselves in the path of God’s grace and seek Him, much like Zacchaeus placed himself physically in Jesus’ path and sought Him.
Holiness is not an option for those who claim to be children of the Holy One (see 1 Peter 1: 15-16), so neither are the means of holiness — that is, the Spiritual Disciplines — an option.
I’ve seen Christians who are faithful to the church of God, who frequently demonstrate genuine enthusiasm for the things of God, and who are committed to the preaching of the Word of God, yet who trivialize their effectiveness for the kingdom of God through lack of discipline.
you could name athletes, musicians, or students who displayed enormous potential, but who failed to live up to that God-given potential simply because they could not discipline themselves to practice.
Many hear the term Spiritual Disciplines and think of bondage and burdens — things they have to do, not freedom. Nevertheless, there is a freedom in the Christian life that comes not through indolence, but discipline.