Where God Is Changing Lives
Spiritual disciplines involve such practices as prayer, praise, worship, confessing, fasting, meditation, and study. Through prayer, we express our trust in Jehovah God, the giver of all good things, and acknowledge our dependence on Him for our needs and for the needs of others (Matthew 6:5-15; Luke 11:1-13; James 5:13-18). Through both private and public worship we bless God, have communion with Him, and are provided daily with spiritual enrichment and growth in grace. Through periods of fasting we draw close to God, meditate on the passion of Christ, and discipline ourselves to submit to the control of the Holy Spirit in all areas of our life (Matthew 5:16-18; 9:14-17; Acts 14:23). Through confession of our sins to God we are assured of divine forgiveness (1 John 1:9, 2:2). The sharing of our confession with other believers provides the opportunity to request prayer and bear one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2; James 5:16). Through meditation on and study of the Word of God we enhance our own spiritual growth and prepare ourselves to help guide and instruct others in Scriptural truths (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2; 2 Timothy 2:15, 23-26)
B. Loyalty To God and Commitment to the Church
We will demonstrate our commitment to Christ through our practice of the spiritual disciplines; We will demonstrate our commitment to the body of Christ through our loyalty to God and our commitment to His church; and we will demonstrate our commitment to the work of Christ through our being good stewards.
The life of Christian discipleship calls for the fulfillment of our duties to the body of Christ. We are to unite regularly with other members of the church for the purpose of magnifying and praising God and hearing His Word (Matthew 18:20; John 4:23; Acts 2:42; 46, 47; 12:24; Hebrews 10:25). Sunday is the Christian day of worship. As the Lord’s Day, it commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead (Matthew 28:1) and should be employed for worship, fellowship, Christian Service, teaching, evangelism, and proclamation (Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5,6; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Colossians 2:16, 17). We are to provide for the financial needs of the church by the giving of tithes (Malachi 3:10; Matthew 23:23) and offerings (1Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 8:1-24; 9; 1-15). It is our duty to respect and submit to those whom the Lord Jesus has placed over us in the church (1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13; Hebrews 13: 7, 17). Or exercise of authority must be as spiritual example rather than as a lord over God’s flock (Matthew 20:25-28; 1 Peter 5:1-3). Furthermore, our submission must be a manifestation of the spiritual grace of God’s humility (Ephesians 5:21; 1 Peter 5:5, 6). Finally, we are to avoid affiliation with oath-bound societies. Such societies may appear to have spiritual character, but by being oath-bound and secretive, they contradict Christian spirituality (John 18:20; 2 Corinthians 6: 14-18). Christians must not belong to any body or society that requires of practices an allegiance that supersedes or excludes their fellowship in Christ (Matthew 12:47-49; John 17:21-23).
C. Being Good Stewards
A. Practice of Spiritual Disciplines
In the scriptures, the virtues of thrift and simplicity are honored but the vices of waste and ostentation are solemnly prohibited (Isaiah 55:2; Matthew 6:19-23). The living of the godly and sober life requires the wise and frugal use of our temporal blessings, including time, talent and money. As good stewards, we are to make the most of our time, whether for recreation or for work (Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5). The idle use of leisure time degrades (2 Thessalonians 3: 6-13; 1 Timothy 5:13), but the edifying use of it brings inner renewal. All our work and play should honor the name of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). As good stewards we must use fully our spiritual gifts (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, 27-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Peter 4: 9-11) and natural talents (Matthew 25:14-30) for the glory of God. As good stewards we must recognize that the wise use of money is an essential part of the Christian’s economy of life. God has committed temporal blessings to our trust (Matthew 7:11; James 1:17).