Last week, our church’s men’s and women’s ministries kicked off a new ministry year with their first monthly meetings. Spiritual disciplines is the theme the ministry leaders chose as this year’s focus. One of the key resources being used to organize the Bible teaching is Don Whitney’s book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. The following list was gleaned from Whitney’s book and given to the men and women as a take-home worksheet. May it be a blessing to you!
- Do you thirst for God?
Meditate on Scripture. Pray. (Am I in an on-going two-way conversation with God?) Pray through Scripture. Read thirst-making writers (Puritan devotions, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, AW Tozer, John Piper…)
- Are you governed increasingly by God’s Word?
Deepen your desire for God’s Word – listen regularly to heartfelt preaching. Make time for God’s Word: read the Bible daily and with focus. Search the Scriptures to discover or consider what God says about specific areas or aspects of life. (What is the Holy Spirit teaching me through Scripture?) Train yourself to ask “How does the Bible speak to this idea?” God’s Word is intended to delight us, direct us, define us, disinfect us and defend us.
- Are you more loving?
Meditate on love as described in the Word (1 Cor 13…). Warm your heart in the fire of God’s love for you. Imitate God: love as He loves, demonstrating that He is your Father. Consider those relationships where you need to grow in love and take initiative, especially where you have little or no expectation of love in return. (How is the fruit of the Spirit becoming more visible in my life where I live and play?)
- Are you more sensitive to God’s Presence?
Go often to the Scripture, where God has revealed Himself most clearly. Acknowledge His presence with you by talking TO Him. Seek God in congregational worship. (How am I connecting with God in Worship, both personally and corporately?) Continually reaffirm the truth that God is omnipresent.
- Do you have a growing concern for the spiritual and temporal needs of others?
Ask God, who gives sight to the blind, to enable you to see the earthly AND heavenly needs He wants you to meet. Look for the hurt in every heart and home. Don’t try to do everything, but do something for the gospel and the good of others. (Who am I investing in relationally who is different from me or doesn’t know Jesus? In what ways am I living a life of generosity and service?)
- Do you delight in the Bride of Christ?
Jesus delights in His Bride; grow to see beauty in the church globally and in your church locally – in the people and in their work for the Kingdom. Demonstrate your delight in the Bride of Christ in ways that will make a real difference. (Have I given and received encouragement and accountability within the Body this week?) Pray for and work for growth in the areas that trouble you.
- Are the spiritual disciplines increasingly important to you?
Devote yourself to the pursuit of Christlikeness, enjoying God through active spiritual disciplines. Resist temptations towards “efficient” exercises, to-do lists (except for this one…), microwave spirituality, or shortcuts. Discipline is a long obedience in the same direction. Stoke the fire of your spiritual life with at least one real perceptible poke.
- Do you still grieve over sin?
Make sure you understand the gospel: write it out. Ask God to show you with mercy the reality of your sin and its cost. Confess the sins that the Spirit reveals to you. Pray slowly through Psalm 51 as your own heartfelt prayer. (Am I humbly confessing my sin and asking God to change me?) Meditate on your sin that nailed Jesus the holy, sinless One from Heaven to the cross. And preach the gospel to yourself every single day (Col 1:21-23).
- Are you a quicker forgiver?
Trust God. Train your heart to forgive quickly without request. Learn to ask for forgiveness. Look for opportunities to forgive. (Have I recently shared with someone what God has done and is doing in my life?) Remember the many ways God has forgiven you (Mt 6:14-15).
- Do you yearn for heaven and to be with Jesus?
Set your heart and your mind on things above (Col 3:1-2). Purify yourself in anticipation of seeing your King (1 Jn 3:2-3).
Don Whitney has since followed the above-mentioned book with another: Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health.