1 Corinthians 9:25 “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. “
Maintaining a dynamic relationship with God is of the utmost importance to the believer. Our hearts are in continual need of replenishment and direction. Developing personal systems and disciplining our lives to operate in harmony with our creator will provide massive spiritual strength and health benefits for a long blessed life. Let’s unpack these 7 spiritual disciplines together.
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”
1 Timothy 6:6-8
Giving thanks shows our appreciation for our blessings in life. Its not about expressing it with our lips once a year but cultivating an attitude of gratitude in our daily lives. The devil is constantly trying to steal our joy by capturing our attention and alluring our desires for things that don’t belong to us. God wants us to be content with such things as we have and trust Him in good times and bad. Jesus is enough to satisfy our souls. He is our reward, shield and anchor of eternal hope in this life and the next. Giving thanks is a way of showing gratitude for Him and all He has provided to us. Next time you feel tempted to compare, complain or criticize someone or something in your life try looking for the blessing instead. God has a way of taking our limited perspectives, which the devil uses to harm us and cause malcontent, and through trust and faith help us to see the positive in every situation. The heart that practices contentment lives in joyful bliss giving thanks and praise to God in everything.
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
“Pray without ceasing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Praying is not simply an action of faith but a lifestyle in constant communication with God. The heart that realizes God lives within them ceases not to acknowledge his presence. There’s no place you can go without the presence of God. He is always with us. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He dwells within the heart of every believer. He does not want a limited relationship with us that’s confined to weekend visitation but a deep abiding consistent ongoing communication. The devil uses temptations to cause us to sin against God and break our close fellowship. While the believer can never lose an eternal position as a child of God, he or she can hinder and even quench the open communion and close fellowship with God by choosing to sin. When the sun choice happens we are to recognize our sin and confess it to God in prayer, asking him to remove the transgression, cleanse our hearts, and restore the closeness with Him. God loves to have unhindered, unfettered, unadulterated access and friendship with us. Practice talking both audibly and internally with God. Your life will be majorly blessed by journeying every step of the way with Jesus.
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
“Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”
“For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”
2 Corinthians 1:20-22
“Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”
“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
Disciplining our emotions and appetites is the only way to consistent healthy growth as a Christian. Our flesh is insatiable and knows not how to live in temperance and eternal balance with God. God calls us to crucify our flesh, die to self, and yield our vessels for His use. We are to be servants under the Lordship of Jesus. This means we do not own ourselves or call the shots for our lives. Jesus helps us to live in subjection to the blessed way of the Spirit. By the power of the Holy Spirit we are enabled to discipline our emotions and keep our appetites in proper control. Practicing control is about bringing all our thoughts, actions and habits into the captivity of Christ. We allow Jesus to guide our lifestyle in temperance. He empowers us to live a life of self-control.
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1
“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
1 John 4:4
Sharing our faith not only requires trusting God but also demonstrating our love in action. Its not about how strong and bold we are but about He who lives in us and how He wants to help others. Jesus lives within us and wants to provide, protect and propel His will on earth. Whenever the devil attempts to kill, steal and destroy our fellow man then God calls on us to use courage to stand up to the diabolical bully. We are to stand up for righteousness, speak out and fight for those who are oppressed. It takes courage to resist the enemy and sacrifice our comfort and pleasure for the benefit of others. We have the power of God within us and by practicing courage we are releasing the Lion of the tribe of Judah to help others.
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
“The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.”
“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”
“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
Giving mercy and forgiveness is essential to comforting the afflicted. People are overwhelmed by the weight of their sin and feel like their drowning with regret, shame and fear. The devil is constantly tempting people to sin and then accusing them when they do. He plays the role of tempter and prosecutor. Praise God Jesus is our redeemer, advocate, deliverer, comforter and healer. When we are tempted and tried with the weight of our own sin and foolishness of our choices, we need to turn to Christ and His spirit for mercy, forgiveness and comfort. He is a very present help in time of need. He encourages us to find rest and relief in Him alone. Once we receive His comfort, and allow His spirit to fill us then we can go out and offer that same grace to others. This discipline is best practiced with the true Comforter who desires us to share Him with others.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.”
Loving others is the hallmark virtue of the Christian faith because God is love. Loving our neighbor is not just what we are commanded to do but who we are as believers dwelling in eternal love with God. Our flesh, the world, and the devil are full of lust and pride that robs the soul of compassion and peace. Jesus offers Himself as the only solution to meet the great void in our human hearts. As the songwriter said, “Everyone needs compassion, the kindness of the Savior.” Living with Jesus and allowing His Spirit to show you the desperate plight and depressive positions of fallen man will surely open your eyes and fill your heart with pity for the oppressed. Practicing compassion is simply allowing God to love people through your heart. Let Jesus fill you and love people everywhere you go.
“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference:”
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
“And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:”
Operating in security is found by living in oneness with our perfect God. He is the captain of our salvation and completer of our faith. Jesus gives us a new identity, secures our eternal adoption, and shares with us His inheritance. Though the stars burn down, the world lies in waste and our outward man perishes, our inward man through the power of Christ is renewed day by day. We as Christians are made complete through the blood of Christ. Our great God, the Alpha and Omega, is progressively sanctifying us into His image. Very soon we shall have a new glorified body when we get to heaven. What God has started in us He will surely finish. Let us trust His promises, rest in His presence and preach the complete salvation of Christ to a desperately lost and fallen world. We have the power. We have His completion. We just need to walk in Him and work with Him to share the hope with everyone.
“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour”
“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:”
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”