Spiritual Disciplines?

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Spiritual Disciplines?

Spiritual disciplines. Sounds fun doesn't it... 🫣 Whilst there are some people who are naturally disciplined, many of us are not, or not as much as we should be. The idea of spiritual disciplines just doesn't sound like something we would want to do. And yet...

What are Spiritual Disciplines?

Put simply, they are just practices found in Scripture that promote spiritual growth among believers in the gospel. 

Put like that, they begin to seem way more positive and agreeable. Have a listen to how Donald Whitney describes them (listen below);

What specifically are the Spiritual Disciplines?

Donald Whitney lists ten; (1) Bible intake (in two parts), (2) prayer, (3) worship, (4) evangelism, (5) serving, (6) stewardship, (7) fasting, (8) silence and solitude, (9) journaling, and (10) learning.

Check out Donald Whitney's book here.

What about fasting?

We often talk about "prayer and fasting", why? Well, they are bothh biblical, and are a part of the Christian life (see Matthew 6.5-18 for Jesus’ expectation of them happening). But what is fasting?

Well, it’s going without food for a period of time to do business with God. Usually in Scripture it’s done with a sense of urgency behind it.

We aren’t saying that you have to give up all food and drink for a massive chunk of time - you may just want to miss a meal a week and spend the time you’d usually eat with God. Alternatively, you might want to go without food for a day once a month or even once a week.

Biblically, it’s often used as an act of humility before God. David writes in Psalm 69.10 ‘I humbled my soul with fasting’. But it is also used before big decisions - in Acts 13, a group of leaders were worshipping and fasting and the Holy Spirit said ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul (Paul)...’

Fasting is not something we do to impress others. Jesus says it has no value before God (Matt 6.16), nor is it about earning God’s favour - we already have that in Jesus! We don’t do it to punish ourselves or because we dislike food, but entirely as an act of honouring God - we give up something good to spend time with Him!

We’d encourage you to start small, but commit to it. Maybe it is as simple as not eating lunch each Wednesday and spending the time you would be eating with your Father instead.

Fasting is such a great thing because it shows our hunger for God, in not eating we are saying ‘we are more hungry for you, for you to break into our lives and the life of this church and South East London, than we are for physical food’. It flows entirely from His grace, not from our own efforts. 

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