Paul tells Timothy, "discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7). Indeed, the only and ultimate purpose for exercising spiritual discipline is for growth in godliness. By understanding this reality, God is the one glorified by our discipline, and not self.
In advocating the formal practice of spiritual disciplines, Whitney gives three useful analogies to help us get our minds around the benefits of the classic Spiritual Disciplines: (1) Exercise: “Think of spiritual disciplines as spiritual exercises” ; (2) A path, as in walking/moving forward: “Think of spiritual disciplines as ways we can place ourselves in the path of God’s grace and seek him” ; and, (3) A Channel, as in leading to something: “The spiritual disciplines then are also like channels of God’s transforming grace.” [Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, p. 19]
Boa lists ten specific benefits of practicing the spiritual disciplines, they are paraphrased below …
1. They encourage us to imitate Christ.
2. They connect us with ongoing spiritual traditions.
3. They direct us in growing skills for godliness.
4. They equip us to fight the world, the flesh, and the demonic.
5. They confer eternal perspective and power.
6. They give us a controlled freedom to properly respond to circumstances in a biblical manner.
7. They remind us daily of the discipline needed in the spiritual life.
8. They are vehicles for internal transformation.
9. They help us to replace habits of sin by cultivating habits of spiritual character.
10. And, they help increase our willingness to acknowledge the daily cost of discipleship.
[Conformed to His Image, p. 80]
3 John 8