How Do We Live For Discipleship?

We live for discipleship by being the spiritual example that our disciples need. This means that we are committed to seeing not only ourselves, but our disciples spiritually transformed. To do this we should be committed to practicing spiritual disciplines and spiritual training until they are spiritually mature.

Live A Life Committed To Spiritual Transformation

  • The purpose of discipleship is to “produce maturing and sanctifying disciples of Jesus” and this results in spiritual transformation or godliness. This is a training process that includes refusing or avoiding the godless way of life (false teachings) and exercising or training ourselves to be godly (right teachings). Godliness is profitable unto all things. Godliness is to have the right attitudes, actions and beliefs. This is a painful process of hard work, but we know that it is worth it because we trust in the living God, we want to become like Him, and we want to please Him.
    1 Timothy 4:7-10
  • Thus, discipleship includes living a life committed to spiritual transformation, for ourselves and our disciples. That means we desire to be conformed to the image of Jesus and not conformed to this world. This results in making us spiritually mature and being throughly equipped for all good works. But it takes great effort and training in spiritual disciplines.
    Transformation: Romans 8:29; 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:16; Galatians 4:19; Purpose: 2 Timothy 3:17

Live A Life Committed To Spiritual Disciplines

  • Spiritual disciplines are important because, through the work of the Holy Spirit, they help us to be spiritually transformed. They help us to focus our lives on growing spiritually. We can’t just live normal lives and expect transformation to happen. We have to carve out time to purposefully practice spiritual disciplines. Just like intentional bodily exercise helps a person to build a healthy body, the Bible says, we are to “exercise” unto godliness—meaning that through consistent instruction, practice, and application we can develop godly behavior. Below are some (but not all) spiritual disciplines:
    It takes Effort: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Corinthians 11:23-29; Philippians 3:12-14; Colossians 1:29; 2 Timothy 2:1-7
    • Disciplines of Bible Study: (1) Bible Reading and Listening—to look at or hear and comprehend the Scriptures so that you can know more about God, to know His will, and to know how to properly obey God. (2) Bible Truth Meditation—to focus our mind on Bible truth and to think deeply and over a long period of time about it in such a way that it helps us change the way we think, to worship God or to have a greater understanding of truth and its applications. (3) Bible Verse Memorization—to commit verses of the Bible to memory so that God’s Word becomes part of who we are and it can be brought to memory when needed and the Holy Spirit can use it.
      (1) 2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Timothy 4:6; (2) Psalm 1:1-3; (3) Psalm 119:9, 11; Colossians 3:16
    • Disciplines of the Christian Life: (4) Prayer in Jesus’ Name—to boldly talk to, confess, request of, and thank God continually and directly because of the access that we have through Jesus. (5) Worship and Praise—to reverently express adoration and admiration to God. Thus we are to fill our heart, soul, and minds with the goodness of God and respond to His wonderfulness in words, actions and attitudes of praise. This is often done in song, journaling and prayer. (6) Evangelizing the Lost—to give the good news of Jesus to those who don’t know it. This is being directly involved in God’s Kingdom work and advancing it. (7) Serving Others—to help or do good to others with the focus on serving God and not man. It helps us to not focus on ourselves but to humbly put others before ourselves and show the love of God to them, expecting nothing in return. (8) Faithful Stewardship—to be frugal and prudent with our wealth (money and possessions) to use it for God’s kingdom (not ours) and to excel at giving. (9) Celebration and Joy—to take great pleasure and joy in God, His goodness to us and to enjoy all the good things in life that He has given us. (10) Believer’s Fellowship—to gather together with other believers in a local church for edification. Our faith is meant to be lived out in community and relationships. This also includes confession among fellow believers with whom you trust when necessary.
      (4) 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; (5) Psalm 99:1-9; (6) Mark 16:15; (7) Galatians 5:13; (8) 1 Timothy 6:6-11; (9) Ezra 6:15-16; (10) Hebrews 10:24-25
    • Disciplines of Self-denial: (11) Fasting—to go without food for a specific period of time to focus on depending on God; to show that He is the greatest substance in our life; to train and learn self-control which helps us overcome sin; to find joy in God not food or earthly things. One can also abstain from others things (such as sex), or make certain sacrifices to accomplish this. (12) Solitude and Silence—to deny self “social interaction” and “the busyness of noise” to find rest in God. We need times to be alone, away from the chaos, so we can hear ourselves think and to focus on God and be refreshed. We need times to be away from all the noise and problems of life and to think on God. We need uninterrupted times of us and God—this also helps us clearly see our sinfulness and the need of repentance.
      (11) Matthew 6:16-18; (12) Psalm 46:10
  • All of our spiritual disciplines are not to be done in a manner that displays our goodness in doing them and draws attention to ourselves—meaning we are not to do any of these for the praise of men. Such disciplines are to be done in secret—meaning we are doing them in obedience to God and He decides if they are to be known or not. This is the true test of spiritual disciplines—will we faithfully do them if no one else notices? (Note: It is not that we should hide them from other people knowing, but we shouldn’t be doing them for others’ approval and praise.)
    Matthew 5:14-16; 6:1-18

Live A Life Committed To Spiritual Training

  • Training to create godly habits. We are to train ourselves and our disciples in spiritual disciplines until the disciplines become a normal pattern of life or healthy spiritual habits. It is only through spiritual training that we can accomplish spiritual transformation. Every believer should be growing spiritually and eventually they ought to be teaching others.
    Galatians 6:9; Hebrews 5:14; 12:11; 1 Peter 3:15
  • Thus, discipleship includes living a life committed to spiritually training your disciples in spiritual disciplines until they are spiritual transformed. They need to see it modeled and not just told to do it. The principle is: “it is more caught than taught”—meaning that the disciplines are passed on from one believer to other believers by example. We are committed to the process of discipline through training until our disciples learn it enough to carry out the process themselves.

Review Questions

  • What is spiritual transformation?
  • Why are spiritual disciplines important?
  • What are some of the disciplines?
  • What does it mean that disciplines are to be done in secret?
  • What is spiritual training?

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