Thanks to Dave Jenkins for asking me to participate in this testimonial series on the spiritual disciplines. First, I’d like to say that the spiritual disciplines are a vehicle and not the destination. If spiritual disciplines are our highest aim, our aim is cheap and nothing more than an idol. The spiritual disciplines are a means of grace God gives us so that we may cherish and enjoy Him. The spiritual disciplines are also a means God uses to train us for the purpose of godliness (1 Tim. 4:7). Therefore, when we engage in spiritual disciplines, the goal is to commune with God and be more conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.
Now, I’d like to share a few of my spiritual disciplines, and I hope that you will be encouraged to incorporate some of them into your walk with the Lord. As you read through them, know that I wrote them in the spirit of this quote by J.I. Packer:
“I am a sinner who is gifted, or cursed, with the ability to talk better than he lives, and I wouldn’t want folk to forget that.”
My prayer is that each passing day, the Holy Spirit closes the chasm between my words of exhortation and my heart. I am thankful that God is conforming me more and more each day into the image of Jesus Christ.
- Reading the Word Daily
I find that digesting several chapters of God’s Word daily is the nourishment that my soul needs so that I may delight in God more fully. Psalm 119:32 says “I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!” The Lord does expand my heart and love for Him as I steadily intake His written Word daily.
- Praying the Scriptures
If I pray the Scriptures, I don’t have to be concerned about whether or not my prayers are pleasing to the Lord. Praying the Scriptures keeps my mind focused. Praying the Scriptures is always fresh and new. Praying the Scriptures allows me to surround my petitions and requests with the very Word of God.
I journal almost all of my prayers and many of my important thoughts on a daily basis. I have at least ten years’ worth of journals in my library at home. Journaling helps me to organize my thoughts, it gives me clarity on what the Lord is teaching me, and it is an ongoing document of the Lord’s faithfulness in my life. I find that during times of discouragement I can always go back to the journals and praise God for his favor and abundant grace and mercy in my life.
- Scripture Meditation and Memory
I try to memorize and meditate on several verses a month. This helps me to internalize the Word of God and flee sin. It helps me to understand God’s Word more fully as it rolls around in my mind for weeks at a time. It also allows me to minister to others when I don’t have a Bible on hand. Right now I am meditating and memorizing Psalm 9:1-2.
- Read Great Books
I read a lot. Probably not as much as Dave the Executive Director of Servants of Grace does, though! My goal for the last three years has been to read a book a week. Last year I read right around that number. It is a good discipline for me personally because I’m weak minded and need plenty of gospel-centered content to keep me grounded. Reading a book a week isn’t for everyone (nor should it be). However, you should be a reader. God has provided us with some great resources that provoke us to cherish Him more and conform more into the image of Jesus. You can explore the Servants of Grace website and find all sorts of book reviews to help you get started.
- Family Worship
This is probably my favorite discipline because this is worship with my wife and son. Every day we read the Word, pray the Word and sing the Word together, and I am grateful to God that we do this. The Lord uses it to minister to me, and I know it encourages my family too. We do this in the morning. There have been numerous times where I come home from work singing the song we sang together that morning only to find that my wife has been singing it all day too. It is a precious gift from God to incorporate family worship into our rhythm of disciplines. For more information about family worship, I commend Joel Beeke’s short book, “Family Worship.”
This is just a glimpse into my rhythm of disciplines. I would love to hear about yours. Please feel free to reach out to me or Dave Jenkins if you have any questions about where to get started. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.