6 If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:6-8)
There are many kinds of spiritual disciplines. But there are five that I believe are crucial. They are crucial because they can significantly and radically change the direction and quality of your life in the long run. You may not see immediate changes, but if you persevere in them, you will see that your life will change for the better. Of course, you need to practice them by faith. Click here to read my previous article concerning practicing spiritual disciplines by faith. Here are the five crucial disciplines:
- Training the Body – If you discipline your body, you will be able to bring yourself to various “places of grace.” A “place of grace” is simply a place, whether physical or virtual, where God’s truth is being communicated by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is part of what it means to offer your body as a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1).
- Renewing the Mind – The next step after offering your body to God, is to allow God’s truth to renew your mind. You must discipline your mind to think God’s thoughts, which means you need to take captive every thought that is not pleasing to God and replace them with God’s truths.
- Guarding the Heart – Your heart is the center of your soul. This is where your motives and choices are being made. This is also where your love comes from. You love from the heart, and what you choose to love affects your soul. This is also where your values and convictions reside. So this discipline is crucial, because your heart determines everything that you think, say and do.
- Developing Relationships – This discipline is the context where all other disciplines operate. When your relationships are healthy and life-giving, your soul will flourish. Feedback as well as give back occur in the context of relationships. More importantly, the word of God can only be understood and applied in and through relationships.
- Managing Moments – Last but not the least, this discipline is all about learning wisdom on a day to day basis. It’s the discipline of discerning God’s will in every occasion, and obeying it by faith, regardless of the consequences. Managing moments is the discipline that strengthens all other disciplines.
These five crucial disciplines will greatly affect the quality and direction of your life. You can experience a better life in Christ Jesus if you learn them, practice them, and also teach them to others. – PB