I recently ran a poll with our staff to get an idea of what they thought of fasting for a previous blogpost, 7 Things to Know When Fasting. Benjamin, one of our writers, gave a beautiful response:
I fast because it re-centers me, it reminds me of the struggle of the spiritual disciplines, and it strengthens my resolve to submit to God’s calling. Fasting humbles me and reminds me that all good things truly come from God. Fasting breaks down my pride and forgetfulness for those who have less; it helps me be more compassionate and ready to serve people in need. And fasting reminds me to praise God and be thankful for his provision and his goodness.
What a beautiful gift we’ve been given! I find it’s so easy to get distracted by everything going on around us — family, work, errands — we can miss out on God’s callings and blessings for our lives. It’s not just fasting that we’re forgetting though… there’s a wide range of tools that the Holy Spirit has equipped every single one of us with — we call them spiritual disciplines.
What’s a Spiritual Discipline?
Spiritual disciplines are practices we do regularly that can help us change, with the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, our sinful habits into good habits that make us more like Christ and connect us closer to God.
Spiritual Disciplines and Salvation
We are saved by and through God’s grace alone. Salvation is not earned, and spiritual disciplines are not practices or rituals to make us “right” with God. Think of them as tools that the Holy Spirit gives us to renew our hearts. When we practice spiritual disciplines–
- We recognize Jesus as Lord over our lives
- We acknowledge that we belong to him alone
- We seek to live out the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (Gal. 5:22-23)
The disciplines are not to help God make our lives holy. Instead–
- They help us recognize God’s callings and promptings in our lives
- They help us identify areas in our lives that still need to be renewed
- They make us sensitive and humble to follow God’s leading (through prayer and his Word)
- They help us realize we depend completely on God’s grace for everything and every moment
- They train and equip us to respond in a worthy manner when life throws problems and storms at us
Here’s a list of common spiritual practices, by no means comprehensive, which many Christians have practiced throughout the centuries:
Do you have a favorite spiritual discipline?
Let us know in the comments!
This “The Spiritual Discipline of Fasting” eChart is a simple explanation of the biblical teaching on fasting. It gives tips on how to fast and why. This basic chart gives biblical examples of fasting, and includes insights on how to put your focus in the right place when you fast.
This free chart helps people understand why spiritual disciplines such as fasting are important for combating the power of sin in our lives. With the power of the Holy Spirit, we can change our sinful habits into good habits that make us more like Christ and connect us closer to God. Download it Now!