While every individual Christian is going to express their faith and live it out differently, there are some sound practices and principles that every believer should participate in. This article will outline four of these practices. These activities, and others, are often referred to as spiritual “disciplines.” They are designed to help us grow in our faith, become mature Christians, but most importantly, to help us connect with God on a regular basis.
1. Reading and Meditating in the Scriptures. The Bible is God’s gift to us. The Bible is the Word of God and provides direction, comfort, instruction, and even rebuke. As the Scriptures become a part of our life, they will begin to affect the way that we think and view life. Even Jesus found His identity in the Bible. For those who might not have developed a habit of reading the Bible daily, a good personal challenge might be to read one chapter a day. There are many devotional and Bible study resources available to help one get more out of their Bible.
2. Spending Time in Prayer. The Apostle Paul said that we should “pray continually.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) For Paul, prayer was like breathing. It should be that natural. Too often, our prayers have become formalized and prayer becomes more of a ritual than a natural expression of our love to a Heavenly Father. The model prayer that Jesus presented in the Sermon on the Mount starts off with the words, “Our father…” Jesus understood prayer as a child talking to their father. There are many resources available to help one enjoy a more rewarding prayer life.
3. Joining and Participating in a Local Church. Pastor Bill Hybels says, “The local church is the hope for the world.” We are designed to live in a community. God never intended for Christians to live life on their own. Our destinies are intertwined. We find encouragement, strength, and hope as we join our lives with other believers going in the same direction. Every Christian has gifts and talents that are meant to be used to serve others. One of the places where this service takes place is in a local church.
4. Making Disciples. Jesus’ last instructions before He left earth were to “go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19) This was the mission that Jesus left to His followers. There are many different ways to accomplish this task. Different churches will approach it in different ways. Our goal, however, should be the same. As disciples of Christ, we should be always looking for opportunities to create other disciples. There is no doubt that in some circles, well-meaning Christians have not used tact, kindness, or love in their approach to evangelism and discipleship. The task before the Church, however, is to constantly be looking for ways to make the message of Christ relevant to their generation.
There are other important spiritual disciplines which were not mentioned here. These are designed as a starting point for believers to consider. Participating in these important practices will likely have deep and meaningful results in the life of the Christian.
What other things do you consider important practices in your Christian life?
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