By Rev Dr Edwin Perona and Jessie Chew What does it mean to be intentional? What are the different ways we can engage with God on a regular basis? Find out more about engagement with God through the practice of spiritual disciplines. Read on to understand what they are, why we need them, and how we can develop them.
What are spiritual disciplines and why should we engage in them? God calls every Christian to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:11) Put another way, we are called to follow the example of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). While it’s entirely possible for you and I to initiate this process of “replacing old, destructive habits with new, life-giving ones,”1 pursuing them on our own will only affect short-term change. To have lasting inner transformation, we must engage in spiritual disciplines
– activities that help to make our heart, mind, and spirit receptive to what God wants to do in and through our lives. “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” – Galatians 6:8 Paul’s analogy of sowing and reaping in Galatians 6:8 reminds us that Christlikeness and spiritual growth requires us to do our part by engaging with them on a regular basis.
How many spiritual disciplines are there? In his book Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster expands on 12 spiritual disciplines that he classified into three main categories. • inward disciplines (meditation, prayer, fasting, study) • o utward disciplines (simplicity, solitude, submission, service) 3 8
• c orporate disciplines (confession, worship, guidance, celebration)
Described as “classical disciplines,”2 Foster concedes that this list is by no means exhaustive, rather, these are disciplines that have been practiced by Christians throughout the centuries. In this year of going back to basics, the regular practice of spiritual disciplines are ways to help us grow and strengthen our Word, Prayer, and Spirit life.