Types of Spiritual Disciplines

What qualifies as a "spiritual discipline" for the Christ follower?  Adele Calhoun has a list of nearly a hundred spiritual disciplines in her book Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices that Transform Us;.

She says “The Christian life is not so much a set of behaviors as it is an orientation of the soul toward God and His Kingdom” (page 206).  That’s the goal of the spiritual disciplines – to open us up and provide the means through which God may choose to pour Himself into us.

There are a variety of ways to categorize the spiritual disciplines.  Here are a few opinions:
·         Richard Foster – inward, outward, and corporate
·         Dallas Willard – engagement, abstinence
·         Adele Calhoun – worshiping, opening, relinquishing, sharing, hearing, loving, and praying
·         Donald Whitney – Bible intake, prayer, evangelism, etc. – intertwined

In the women’s Bible study at my church, we are studying the following disciplines because they are what believers and what Jesus practiced in the Bible:
  • Reading Scripture
  • Learning/Studying
  • Memorizing Scripture
  • Scripture meditation
  • Applying Scripture
  • Stewardship
  • Prayer
  • Worship
  • Fasting
  • Silence and solitude
  • Evangelism
  • Journaling
  • Serving
  • Learning
 Not everyone agrees on what is considered a ‘spiritual discipline’, but some others that God can use to transform us include:
  • Simplicity
  • Submission
  • Confession
  • Celebration
  • Contemplation
  • Examen
  • Relinquishment
  • Voluntary Poverty

Whatever spiritual disciplines we choose to practice, our part is to offer ourselves lovingly and obediently to God so that we can know He has come to us and will work in us.  

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