Paul described his work in discipleship as something for which he toiled (Col. 1:29). If that sounds like work to you, it is because spiritual disciplines require consistent, diligent effort on your part. In Session 6 of Distinctive Discipleship, you are going to select the most vital spiritual discipline to strengthen at this time in your life. You will determine which one is best for your soul’s health and get to work on it this very day. This discipline will begin to train the habits necessary for your discipleship.
Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make progress. You can look around you and notice people who are extremely disciplined for a variety of reasons to improve in certain key areas. What are some specific purposes for which people discipline themselves and why? In your group, give a list of popular disciplined activities with the accompanying hopeful payoffs for each one.
Many of the benefits associated with people’s most-prized disciplines are unfortunately short-lived. When it comes to spiritual disciplines, these activities do more than improve your life; they develop your soul.
- 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
- The Corinthian church lived in a city obsessed with physical discipline. They loved athletic competitions displaying their physical prowess. What Paul noticed in them was a willingness to discipline their bodies while neglecting to discipline their souls.
- How is spiritual growth similar to athletic preparations and competitions?
- What should that example look like in the life of the disciple?
- These athletes competed for the glory of a perishable wreath (9:25). While it looked beautiful arrayed upon the victor’s head on the podium, within days the foliage withered into frail and unbecoming stems.
- How does that relate to worldly disciplines?
- How can spiritual disciplines receive imperishable wreaths in contrast?
Look up these following passages and fill out the chart together regarding these biblical examples. After reading each section, write out the name of the individual, the discipline you see employed, and any descriptions that speak of how they used these disciplines.
- What will be the next spiritual discipline you begin to strengthen?
- What process will you use? What resources will you need?
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.