Have you ever had a hard time? I don’t mean just having a hard time doing something difficult, but rather a hard time dealing with life. For instance, you struggle to find pleasure in anything and instead find fault with everything. Or, maybe you’ve experienced a season of failure and where your faith used to be, you find doubt and disillusionment. Or perhaps you simply lack the strength to get anything done.
If any of these statements apply to you, then your spirit man is having a hard time. But, don’t despair. You can enjoy your life, rejuvenate your faith and get your motivation back by incorporating seven basic disciplines into your daily Christian walk.
The Christian life is easy when you are submitted to the Holy Spirit–resisting Him makes life difficult. Once we receive Christ as Lord and Savior, we are no longer of the world (we are citizens in the Kingdom of God) and doing things according to the world’s method of operation will no longer work for us.
But you are not living the life of the flesh, you are living the life of the Spirit, if the [Holy] Spirit of God [really] dwells within you [directs and controls you]. (Romans 8: 9, AMP)
We must operate our lives according to God’s rhythm, His timing and His precepts. Resisting His rhythm and timing leads to frustration and resisting His precepts leads to misfortune. A well-balanced, effective Christian should make these 7 disciplines a part of every day…
- Keep God’s order for the day–Spend time with God first.(You must enforce this. Everything in this life will try to keep you away from this.)
- Maintain your God-given priorities.
- God first (First in your relationships, first in your finances, first in your business/career, etc.)
- Family second
- Work third
- Ministry fourth (Note: If you are called into ministry full-time, then your “work” is ministry)
- Praise God. Do you realize that praising God can restore your energy? Try it some time. When we praise and worship God, it’s like giving our inner-man (our spirit) a massage. Just being in God’s presence restores and balances our emotions, which affects our mood and attitude.) Study the life of King David in 1 and 2 Kings to see how he praised his way out of trying times. The Bible gives us two scriptures that reveal the power of being in God’s presence. Psalm 16:11 says, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Also, Nehemiah 8:10 says, “…the joy of the Lord is our strength.” Remember, no praise leads to no presence of God; no presence of God, leads to no strength. So, always praise God.
- Feed your spirit. Hearing the Word of God and studying it renews our mind and builds up our faith. An easy way to do this is by attending worship services at your local church and by reading/studying the bible and/or other Christian books at home on a daily basis.
- Pray & Fast. Prayer should go before any great work. In other words, before beginning any task pray for wisdom, favor and protection. This will lead to greater productivity and peace. Fasting increases our ability to deny the flesh and walk according to our spirit man. Once we are able to tell our flesh no to food, amazingly we are also able to tell our flesh to resist other things like–sin!
- Take care of God’s temple–your body! Eat nutritious food and exercise. Not taking care of your physical body will lead to poor health; and when you feel bad it’s hard to do anything else–like work, study, pray, help others or even maintain a good attitude.
- Be grateful. Having a thankful attitude, releases God’s favor in your life–after all, can you find any instance in the Word of God or think of any occassion in which God has rewarded someone with a negative, sour attitude? It’s very unlikely. Instead, God rewards those with a faithful attitude regardless of their circumstances. Try adapting the attitude of the Apostle Paul from Philippians 4:11-13 “…for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (New Living Translation)
Remember, discipline means “control gained by enforcing obedience or order.” While the activities above will help us discipline our spirits so we have joy and peace in our walk as Christians, we don’t have to rely on our own strength to carry them out.
The Holy Spirit who dwells within us will give us the power and the wisdom we need to help us know how to conduct ourselves every day. If we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, doing the basics will come naturally.
Today’s Life Principle: Don’t neglect the foundations of the Christian faith.