PROVERBS 4:13: “Cling to discipline. Do not relax your grip on it. Keep it because it is your life.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: Whatever happened to “spiritual disciplines”? Many truly love the Lord, but have never developed a life of discipline when it comes to the areas of prayer, worship, and the Word of God. Yet, without these in our lives we will find ourselves adrift and without the strength we need to face the challenges that are ahead.
Solomon writes to his son and exhorts him to the pursuit of wisdom in the fourth chapter of Proverbs.
- “Acquire wisdom. Acquire understanding. Do not forget. Do not turn away from the words that I have spoken. Do not abandon wisdom, and it will watch over you. Love wisdom, and it will protect you. The beginning of wisdom is to acquire wisdom. Acquire understanding with all that you have. Cherish wisdom. It will raise you up. It will bring you honor when you embrace it. It will give you a graceful garland for your head. It will hand you a beautiful crown.” (Proverbs 4:5-9 GW)
Note the various words Solomon uses to frame this search for wisdom.
- Do no forget
- Do not turn away
- Do not abandon
- Embrace it
And then Solomon tells his son the only way that he will be able to do this – “Cling to discipline. Do not relax your grip on it. Keep it because it is your life.”
Spiritual disciplines are not unlike any other discipline in life. They begin as a decision, they are developed in a regular routine, and they give birth to a delight in life that one looks forward to. When I first began to cycle I did not enjoy my ride very much. Each hill seemed like a punishment. Each trip left my muscles sore and feeling punished. Yet, as I continued in a regular routine, acting on my decision, something wonderful began to happen. One by one the hills began to be conquered. My endurance began to increase. And before long, I found myself cutting through my ride with a sense of joy and anticipation each day. I was no longer focused on the difficulty, I was enveloped with the joy of the ride and the beauty of my surroundings.
To develop a disciplined life of prayer, worship, meditation, and study of God’s Word is no different. It must become a daily pursuit if it is to yield the maximum fruit in our life. The believer who imagines that they can face the difficulties and challenges of life with a simple Sunday sermon are sadly mistaken! While our spiritual life of discipline is not complete without our corporate life of worship (regular church attendance), one must partake daily of the Bread of Life as much as they do of physical bread. Everything in life will try to crowd out this precious time you should have with the Lord. However, we must remember the words of Solomon to his young son – “Cling to discipline. Do not relax your grip on it. Keep it because it is your life!”
If you have not succeeded in developing a life of spiritual disciplines – don’t lose heart! I struggled for years trying to find the right balance of prayer, worship, study, and meditation. I found it in a simple Bible reading program that I have developed over the years entitled “L.I.F.E.” It incorporates all these disciplines into one quality time with the Lord each day. There are no schedules to follow, no missed dates, and best of all no nagging guilt that I have fallen miserably behind my reading program. This is the one dilemma that use to knock me out of the spiritual discipline game each year. Now – I simply read 3 chapters of the Old Testament, and 1 chapter of the New Testament each day, pray, worship, and journal (Beginners can start out with just one chapter of the New Testament each day!) If I miss a day, I can pick up right where I left off. I can even miss over two months and still read through the entire Bible in one year. Yet, I have found that I do not want to miss this precious time with the Lord. My “spiritual discipline” has now become my great “spiritual delight”!
If you would like to know more about the “L.I.F.E.” Bible and devotional plan, please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. My prayer is that you too can discover the joy of “spiritual discipline”. As you do…
“Cling to discipline. Do not relax your grip on it. Keep it because it is your life.”
In Jesus Name!