For the Purpose of Godliness
Why should a Christian practice spiritual disciplines? What are spiritual disciplines? Are spiritual disciplines still needed for today’s Christian? These are some of the questions that surround spiritual disciplines. I assure you that spiritual disciplines are as much needed today as they have always been. The spiritual disciplines are the parts
of Christianity that requires us to discipline ourselves: go to church, read our Bibles, memorize scripture, pray, fast, and meditate.
Why should a Christian practice spiritual disciplines? For the purpose of Godliness. As Christians, we need to grow in Godliness. V. Raymond Edman says, “Ours is an undisciplined age. The old disciplines are breaking down. … Above all, the discipline of divine grace is derided as legalism or is entirely unknown to a generation that is largely illiterate in the Scriptures. We need the rugged strength of Christian’s character that can come only from discipline.”
Romans 8:29 states, “For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His son.” Where does discipline come in if God has predestined our transformation into Christlikeness? God will grant us Christlikeness when Jesus returns, but in the meantime, God intends for us to pursue it.
When it comes to discipline in the Christian life, many of us feel it is a struggle and discipline without direction. There is a direction in Christian discipline. We find a clear answer to discipline’s purpose in I Timothy 4:7, “Discipline yourself for the purpose of Godliness.” If Godliness is your purpose, then how do you pursue that purpose? Through the spiritual disciplines.
The Bible teaches that some spiritual disciplines are to be done individually (personally) and some are to be done corporately (in a group); both are important. Christians should pray and read the Bible on their own, but it is also vital to hear the word of God preached and pray in a corporate setting. Jesus practiced both. We all have preferences as to which disciplines we enjoy more and feel some are less important. For example, some may feel it isn’t necessary to go to church. Believing that they can worship God anywhere. While it is true that God can be worshipped in any setting. However, the Bible tells us “not to forsake the fellowship of the brethren.” Scriptures also tell us in Roma
ns10:17, “… Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” How else will we hear the word of God and grow in faith unless we go to church regularly?
The spiritual disciplines are essential to growing and experiencing God. The more we practice them, the closer we are to God and being transformed into the image of His Son.