Spiritual Disciplines and Young People

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The post is the first in a short blog series on spiritual disciplines gives an overview of what spiritual disciplines are, why they matter for us as young people, and what a couple of spiritual disciplines are.

WHAT ARE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES?

…spiritual disciplines are those practices found in Scripture that promote spiritual growth among believers in the gospel of Jesus Christ…

-Don Whitney

WHY ARE THEY SO IMPORTANT?

But why are they important for us young people and how can we practice them?

So what’s the big deal with spiritual disciplines? Do they matter?

One word: yes!

God grows us through his Word.

God grows us through prayers communicating with the very Author of the universe.

God grows us through worship, which isn’t just singing. Worship is doing anything to God’s glory, whether that be singing, doing your homework well, doing an extra good job on the lawn, or getting a glass of milk for someone who just ate something really spicy.

In short, the Spirit grows us when we glorify God.

BUT WHAT IS SPIRITUAL GROWTH AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Think about it this way: growing spiritually is growing into who you already are – in Christ, and becoming more like Jesus.

So why is spiritual growth so important?

  1. God commands it.
  2. It’s for our own good to live for and worship Jesus.
  3. It’s our response to what Jesus did on the cross.

He died that we might live, no longer for ourselves, but for the one who gave his life.” – Risen Indeed (http://songsfromscripture.com/worship-songs/)

But why do they matter specifically for young people?

What young men will be, in all probability depends on what they are now…by the character of the young man, we may generally judge what he will be when he grows up…Don’t think you can, at will, serve lusts and pleasures in the beginning, and then go and serve God.

-J.C. Ryle

A second reason (from Ryle):

Remember it is possible to be a young man and serve God…The world seems to take it for granted that young people must be irreligious, and that it is not possible for them to follow Christ…Where will you find anything of this in the Word of God? Doesn’t the Bible speak to old and young alike, without distinction?

WHAT ARE SOME OF THESE DISCIPLINES?

We know what spiritual disciplines are, how they lead to spiritual growth, why they matter generally, and we’ve seen what Ryle has to say about why they matter for young people.

But how do we practice them, not to earn God’s love or heaven (they won’t!) but to live for Jesus, in light of the cross?

THE BIBLE

Think about this: the Bible is God’s revelation of himself – to us! If God called me up on the phone, I’d be super excited to answer it. But a lot of times I don’t feel like reading just that: God speaking to us!

Again, Ryle has great stuff on this issue too:

The Bible is God’s merciful provision for sinful man’s soul, the map by which he must steer his course…If a young man wants to know how to begin life well, let him hear what David says: ‘How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word’ (Psalm 119:9).

He suggests three things to keep in mind about Bible reading:

  1. Pray that God will give you the grace to understand it
  2. Read it reverently
  3. Read it regularly. It only takes 10 minutes a day to finish the Bible in a year!

The Bible guides us, keeps us from sin, gives us assurance, is God’s Word, and ultimately shows us Christ.

PRAYER

“Prayer is the life-breath of a man’s soul.” – J.C. Ryle

We. Can. Talk. To. God.

God hears us – in fact, he loves hearing us and always hears us.

WORSHIP

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

We’re always worshiping – whether it be ourselves, others, or stuff. But all of that will never satisfy us. In fact, all those things will eventually lead to slavery. But worshiping God is what we’re made for, and it is the only thing that will truly satisfy us.

In the next few posts, I’ll go into more on specific spiritual disciplines.

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4 Comments

  1. Wow. Some great points here – love the part about if God called me up on the phone, how excited I’d be… and He has already done that in His Word. May God help us all to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus!

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