But For this week’s Monday Minute, Brenda shares how spiritual disciplines help us to grow in faith, no matter what role we play as military women and wives.
Spiritual Disciplines to Grow in Faith
by Brenda Pace
Once upon a time, I was in the habit of going in to work with my husband at 0-dark thirty. He would have his quiet time in his office while I went to exercise at the gym on Fort Bragg. An hour later we switched places, and he did PT (physical training) with the soldiers in his unit while I had my quiet time. We would then go home and get ready for the day ahead with these most important activities accomplished. The plan worked great for a season. The discipline paid dividends in both my physical and spiritual well-being.
Military personnel and their family members see the benefit of discipline of mind and body up close and personal. Self-discipline of the body for a service member translates into a paycheck. Mental discipline for that same service member may translate into life or death in a training or combat situation. The training yields positive results.
Train for Godliness
Training is also necessary in the growth of my faith. Consider these words from Paul in 1 Timothy 4:7-8:
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
(The NASB version uses the word discipline for train.)
It would be easy for me to think that any spiritual growth in my life is a result of the discipline I exert in such activities as reading my Bible, praying, or fasting, but that’s not the case. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a formula for spiritual growth? Do this. Don’t do that. Check this block. Read a blog post on “Grow Your Faith in Three Easy Steps.”
Friends, that’s not how it works.
While discipline in my spiritual life is important and necessary, the discipline is not an end in and of itself. Spiritual growth is the work of the Holy Spirit—a gift of grace in and through me as I pursue Christ. His work in me at salvation produces a desire to know him more. Out of that relationship will come longing that produces action that yields growth.
Spiritual disciplines are not to produce growth in me. The disciplines enable me to die to myself and get out of the way so the Spirit can work in my life.
Drudgery or Joy?
Honestly, I struggle to use the word discipline, because it may conjure thoughts of legalism and drudgery. However, when I think of activities I enjoy doing, they are things in which I’ve developed some skill over time—activities that took discipline to learn. Think of those things you enjoy—playing the piano, hand lettering, painting, running (yes, I have heard there are people who enjoy running!). All these things take practice and some discipline to learn to do well. Over time the joy of doing them increases.
It is easy to think we will never measure up to mastering spiritual disciplines. Please do not interpret my words to communicate you must master spiritual disciplines to be acceptable to the Lord. I think of it in this way: I exercise those things that would help the Spirit master my weaknesses and enable Jesus to become the Master of my life. But I don’t rejoice and focus on my accomplishments in practicing spiritual disciplines—there are no merit badges for their exercise. I rejoice only in what Christ does in me through the power of his Holy Spirit. John Ortburg writes it this way, “The disciplines are neither taskmasters nor ends in themselves. Rather they are exercises that build strength and endurance for the road of growth.” Sisters, let’s go exercise!
Read: 1 Timothy 4:7-8—“Train yourself for godliness…”
Reflect: How do I practice spiritual disciplines without them leading to legalism?
Respond: There is no definitive list of spiritual disciplines in scripture, but the Bible includes practices that if guided by the Spirit and motivated to please God will aid in our spiritual growth. Consider the following Scriptures. What spiritual discipline can you assume beneficial for growing faith?
- “ All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
- “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
- “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
- “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness” (1 Chronicles 16:29).
- “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42).
- “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Lord, train me for godliness that I may live this life to the full and look with anticipation and readiness for the life to come. Amen.
Additional Resources to Grow in Faith
Jan Winebrinner, A Woman’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines
Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality
Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life
John Ortburg, The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People
Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline
Tish Harrison Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary
www.renovare.org (Renovare provides practical resources for cultivating training over trying/spiritual transformation.)
*photo cred: EVG photos
For more resources to grow your faith, visit the Planting Roots Resource page.