Did You Get In Your Workout?

In his book, Disciplines of a Godly Man, R. Kent Hughes said, “none of us naturally seeks after God, none is inherently religious, none instinctively does good” (Rom. 3.9-18). Therefore as children of grace, our spiritual discipline is everything – everything.  The apostle Paul instructed Timothy in 1 Timothy 4.7 to “train yourself to be godly.” The word “train” comes from the Greek word gumnos, the word from which we derived our English word gymnasium. The word “train” originally meant “to exercise naked.”  Not that I am advocating that, but Ancient Greek athletes competed without clothing in order to remove everything that might encumber them or slow them down.  The author of Hebrews encourages believers “to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” During the Olympic Games, sports commentators often talk about runners and swimmers who have worked to take hundredths of a second off their times.  Do you have the same intensity and desire to become a spiritual athlete?  Spiritual training, just like physical training, involves eliminating practices, activities, habits, and appetites that can be anchors for the believer. In 1 Corinthians 9:27 Paul said, “I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air, no, I beat my body to make it a slave. Spiritual disciplines are practices and habits of devotion that promote spiritual growth. Spiritual disciplines are for the purpose of becoming more like Christ. God gives us spiritual discipline that we might pursue him. Prayer, meditation, scripture memory, service, journaling, stewardship (time, talents & treasures) are disciplines of exercise. Chastity, fasting, simplicity, poverty, sacrifice, silence, and solitude are disciplines of abstinence. God is the one who saved you and promises to bring you to complete maturity but, that doesn’t mean that you have no role in your own growth.  Some great books are available that will help you in your pursuit! I recommend the following. Recommended reading options: The first option, Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster, is a classic on spiritual disciplines. The second option, The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg is included because it is highly motivational. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney offers practical suggestions for engaging in a wide array of disciplines.  The fourth option, The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard, focuses on transformation into Christ-likeness through the practice of spiritual disciplines.

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