In recent times, there has been a resurgence of interest and use of the classical spiritual disciplines. In the language of the Puritans, they were often called, "the means of grace."
For the practitioner that wants to be biblical in their use of spiritual disciplines, a balance of personal effort and discipline along with proper dependence upon God in their personal spiritual growth should be their desire. Such passages as Philippians 2:12-13 (“… work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”), Romans 12:1-8, Ephesians 6:10-20, Colossians 1:9-12, James 4:7-10, 1 John 2:3-6, etc., teach the believer that careful attention and self-discipline are core ingredients of personal spiritual growth.
As such, one’s focus and use of the classic spiritual disciplines should be upon God and His Word, rather than on any personal effort or on the spiritual practice/activity itself (a common danger of those who passionately advocate the use of the disciplines).
The use of spiritual discipline is based on the reality that no Christian grows without discipline and self-control; see, for example, 1 Timothy 4:7: “discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.”
Ken Boa writes:
“Spirituality is not instantaneous or haphazard; it is developed and refined. The Epistles are full of commands to believe, obey, walk, present, fight, reckon, hold fast, pursue, draw near, and love. The spiritual life is progressively cultivated in the disciplines of the faith; you and I will not wake up one morning to find ourselves suddenly spiritual. This is why Paul uses the metaphors of athlete, a soldier, and a farmer to illustrate the discipline of the Christian life (see 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Timothy 2:3-6).” [Conformed to His Image, p. 76]
Don Whitney defines spiritual disciplines as . . .
“those personal and corporate disciplines that promote spiritual growth.” And, “The Spiritual Disciplines are the God-given means we are to use in the spirit-filled purpose of Godliness.” Moreover, Dallas Willard (the most well known advocate of the modern spiritual discipline movement) states concerning the purpose of the spiritual disciplines and why he advocates them: “my central claim is that we become like Christ.” [Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, p. 17]
Tomorrow, I will get more into the "why?" of spiritual discipline.
3 John 8
3 John 8