When you hear the word ‘discipline,’ what do you think of? Punishment, right? Or something along those lines. And that can definitely be one definition. But according to TheFreeDictionary.com, another definition could be this:
‘Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior; to train by instruction and practice’
Hmmm…training. Which reminds me of a Scripture verse…
“Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” -1 Timothy 4:7b-8 (NIV)
In a minute we’re going to be looking at six Biblical disciplines, but before we get there we have to understand why they are necessary and what our purpose for training ourselves in them is. The reason we do them is simple: to get to know God better…to spend time with our Creator and to obey His commands in the Bible. And that’s a very good thing! It’s definitely not some sort of punishment, but something we can enjoy!
With that in mind, let’s look at our first discipline.
This one is definitely important. How can we get to know someone if we don’t talk to them? That’s what prayer is, simply talking to our King. Of course, we need to remember that we are talking to the King of Kings and that we need to be reverent. But through Jesus’ sacrifice, God has given us freedom to come before Him in prayer.
- Bible Reading
God is our King, and He has written a love letter to us, the church, His bride. What is that letter? The Bible. His word. So, the question is, what are we going to do with this precious gift He has given us? Will it sit in the corner and collect dust, or will we take it out every day, reading and re-reading it, cherishing it, and getting to know God through it?
- Bible Study
Bible study is the next step; it’s taking God’s word and not only reading it, but studying it. For me, that often involves a pen and paper. It means looking at the context of sections, and flipping through to look at the cross references of verses. Maybe it will look different for you… I don’t know. But it is important to remember that we need both Bible reading and Bible study. Not just one.
- Bible Meditation
Yes, it is different from Bible Study. Different, but no less important. And no, this isn’t Buddhist or New Age. Meditating on Scripture is actually the very opposite of that. It is not about emptying our minds of everything but rather filling it with God’s word! Maybe it’s writing Scripture out on paper, praying through a Bible passage, or something like that. Again, it can look differently for different people. Just like my friendship with my brother is different than my sister’s friendship with him, your relationship with God will be different than my relationship with God.
- Bible Memorization
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to hide God’s Word in our hearts! When trials come, memorized Scripture can encourage us, and when temptations or fears come, the best way to defeat them is with God’s word! God’s word is alive, powerful, and active, sharper than any sword!
Worshiping God, our Maker and Creator, is something we are told to do over and over again in the Bible. Worship and praise is simply thanking our King for all that He has done for us. It’s us pouring out our hearts to Him. Often it’s through music and song, but it is also so much more than that! Maybe you’re an artist and you worship God through painting. Or maybe you instead worship Him through running. Maybe you prefer to kneel, or maybe to stand. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we do it (with the right heart).
Well, those are just six of the Biblical disciplines we are told to do in the Bible. What did you think? If you’re like me, you might be squirming uncomfortably by now. Yes, I wrote this article, but I will be the first to admit that I have plenty of room to grow in all of them…some more than others. But guess what? That’s why it’s called training. Training means constant hard work and self-discipline. Training means starting with running one mile before you can run your marathon months (or years later). 🙂
Your sister in Christ,