1 Corinthians 9:24-27, “24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES DEFINITION: The commands and practices a disciple “show” in their life to “grow” spiritually because they “know” God.
TWELVE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES:
- Bible Reading
- Family Order
- Scripture Memorization
- Soul Journaling
- Praying & Worshipping
- Discipleship & Christlikeness
- Christian Service
- Public Evangelism
- Spiritual Meditation
- Financial Stewardship
- Christian Fellowship
- Church Involvement
John 15:1-10 (NKJV), “1 I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser [gardner]. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”
Psalm 4:4 (NKJV), “Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah.”
- DEFINITION: The act of focusing one’s thoughts: to ponder, think on, muse. Meditation consists of reflective thinking or contemplation, usually on a specific subject to discern its meaning or significance or a plan of action. (Excerpt from, “Biblical Meditation”).
- BIBLICAL EXAMPLES: Isaac, Genesis 24:63; Joshua, Joshua 1:8; Sons of Korah, Psalm 48:9, & David, Psalm 119:15.
PRACTICAL WAYS TO SPIRITUALLY MEDITATE (10-30min)
- Find a quiet place or a place conducive to think deeply and peacefully (ex. “church worship/prayer time”).
- Sit or stand comfortably and settle your mind and body (controlled breathing and stretching is helpful).
- Begin with thankfulness and worship to God (Philippians 4:4-7).
- Focus your thoughts on one verse, passage or concept (ex., “abiding in Jesus”) at a time.
- Release all your doubts, worry and fears to God in prayer (Hebrews 4:16).
- Relax and rest in the presence of God by visualizing and thinking on the things of God (Philippians 4:8-9).
- Open your heart to hear from God and experience His love (Psalm 16:11).
BENEFITS TO SPIRITUAL MEDITATION
- NATURAL BENEFITS: The benefits in your physical body.
- PHYSICALLY: Lowers blood pressure, stress, decreases pain, reduces anxiety and depression, and builds the immune system (1). Recommended book, “Relaxation Revolution,” Dr. Herbert Benson.
- MENTALLY: Those who memorize and meditate on Scripture over a period of time are more happy and mentally healthier with their relationship with God. Survey done by Dr. Meier with seminary students over three years, “Renewing Your Mind in a Secular World.” As a matter of fact Dr. Meier’s study showed that those who were the most unhappy in life and had the most significant mental health issues did not make any time to meditate and memorize Scripture! Those who had the best results had made a practice of it for a minimum of three years (though the benefits came quickly the life long stability took years of daily practice).
- SPIRITUAL BENEFITS: The benefits that God gives to your spiritual life.
- INCREASED FAITH: The Word will build your faith, Romans 10:17.
- FREEDOM FROM SIN: The Word will keep you from sin, Psalm 119:11-16.
- SOUND MIND: The Word will guard your heart and mind from anxiety, Philippians 4:6-8. (Dr. Caroline Leaf, 1 & 2)
- ANSWERED PRAYERS: The Word will give you answers to your prayers, John 15:7-8.
- POWER TO PREACH: The Word will enable you to preach at anytime, Acts 2:15-21.
- PROSPERITY: The Word will prosper you in all your ways, Psalm 1:1-3.
- LEADERSHIP: The Word will enable you to instruct others, Proverbs 16:23.
John 15:7-8, “7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”