What is discipline?
A systematic instruction intended to train a person, sometimes literally called a disciple, in a craft, trade or other activity, or to follow a particular code of conduct or "order."
What are spiritual disciplines?
Spiritual disciplines are means by which individuals can very literally "practice" their faith. There are three main types of disciplines typically practiced in the life of a Christian; inward disciplines, outward disciplines, and corporate disciplines.
Place the following 12 spiritual disciplines in their correct category. Some may fit into multiple categories. Be sure to spend time studying the scripture reference.
What is the outcome of spiritual disciplines?
Commit to memorizing this week’s memory verse. Pray and ask God to show you what disciplines He desires you to work on this week. Keep a journal on each and how you can better your efforts and build a stronger relationship with your Father.
Memory Verse: “I have given them your word and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of world.” John 17:14
Monday: Disciples Must Go Into The World
Read Acts 1:8
This verse describes a series of ever-widening circles. The gospel was spread, geographically, from Jerusalem, into Judea and Samaria, and finally to the whole world. It would begin with the devout Jews in Jerusalem and Samaria, spread to the mixed race in Samaria, and finally be offered to the Gentiles in the uttermost parts of the earth. God's gospel has not reached its final destination if someone in your family, your workplace, your school, or your community hasn't heard about Jesus Christ. Make sure that you are contributing in some way to the ever-widening widening circle of God's loving message.
Tuesday: Disciples Must Love The World
Read John 3:16
The entire gospel comes to a focus in this verse. God's love is not static or self-centered. It reaches out and draws others in. Here God sets the pattern of true love, the basis for all love relationships. When you love someone dearly, you are willing to give freely to the point of self-sacrifice. God paid dearly with the life of his Son, the highest price he could pay. Jesus accepted our punishment, paid the price for our sins, and then offered us the new life that he had bought for us. When we share the gospel with others, our love must be like Jesus'- willingly giving up our own comfort and security so that others might join us in receiving God's love.
Wednesday: Disciples Must Remain Separate From The World
Read John 17:14
The world sometimes hates Christians because Christians' values differ from the world. Because Christ's followers don't cooperate with the world by joining in their sin, they are living accusations against the world's immorality. The world follows Satan's agenda, and Satan is the avowed enemy of Jesus and His people.
We must go into the world without becoming part of the world. The key to doing so is staying in the word, keeping tight the lines of communication with God, and maintaining spiritual integrity. This is often easier said than done because we don't like standing out or being different from the crowd.
Thursday: Disciples Must Be Patient
Read Galatians 6:9
It can be discouraging to continue to do right and receive no word of thanks or see no tangible results. But Paul challenged the Galatians and he challenges us to keep on doing good and to trust God for the results. In due time, we will reap a harvest of blessing.
Read again this week’s memory verse. Commit to memorize this verse. Make a plan of how you will be a disciple to the world while staying committed to Christ. Pray and ask God to help you see ways to go out into the world while also guarding your heart against worldly things.
Memory Verse: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, by the love you show to one another.” John 13:34-35
I had memorized John 13:35 within a couple of months of joining my first church. The worship leader started each service by having us shake hands with visitors and other members. We knew when it was time because he had us all recite this verse together before the music started. I am grateful for this as it helped me memorize a very important verse in the Bible and also showed the importance of welcoming visiting guests. The concept behind the verse goes so much further than extending a welcoming hand during greet-time. The words spoken by our Savior are ones not to be taken lightly. We are to heed them within the church walls as well as outside the doors. If a visitor was to follow your footsteps within the church today, would they see a true disciple? Would they feel God’s love and acceptance through your actions? What if they followed you home?
Pray and ask God to keep you aware of your actions. Keep in mind that others are watching, looking for the love of a Savior through an earthly disciple.
Review John 13:34 and try to recite it from memory.
We know that we are to love the Lord with all of our hearts and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Now we hear Jesus tell us to love others the way that He loved us. To love others isn’t a new commandment as seen in Leviticus 19:18, but to love others as much as Christ loves us is revolutionary. Now we are to love others based on Jesus' sacrificial love for us. Such love will not only bring unbelievers to Christ, it will also keep believers strong and united in a world hostile to God. Jesus was a living example of God's love, as we are to be living examples of Jesus' love. Pray and ask God what this looks like in your life. Be open to changes God may desire for your life.
Read John 13:35 and try to recite it from memory.
Love is more than warm feelings; it is an attitude that reveals itself in action. How can we love others as Jesus loves us? By helping when it's not convenient, by giving when it hurts, by devoting energy to others welfare rather than our own, by absorbing hurts from others without complaining or fighting back. This kind of loving is hard to do. That is why people notice when you do it and know you are empowered by a supernatural source. The Bible has another beautiful description of love in I Corinthians 13. Read it today and ask God to show you ways to extend His love to others.
Read I Corinthians 13. We can have gifts and talents to offer. We can have money to give and time to spend. But if our actions aren’t backed by love they are nothing but the noise of “a clanging cymbal.”
Re-read verses 4-7. List 8 things that love isn’t or does not do. Then list 7 things that love is or does. Take a moment to consider which category you fall into. Look for ways to show love to others. Make a commitment to reach out to a person that you find it hard to love. Ask God to help you. He will grow you in your faith and give you the heart to care about others that you may never be able to care about without His help.
Commit to read I Corinthians chapter 12, 13, and 14. In Chapter 12, Paul gave evidence of the Corinthians lack of love in the utilization of spiritual gifts; chapter 13 defines real love; and chapter 14 shows how love works. Love is more important than all the spiritual gifts exercised in the church body. Great faith, acts of dedication or sacrifice, and miracle-working power produce very little without love. Love makes our actions and gifts useful. Although people have different gifts, love is available to everyone. Love is the greatest of all human qualities, and it is an attribute of God himself. Faith is the foundation and content of God's message; hope is the attitude and focus; love is the action. When faith and hope are in line, you are free to love completely because you understand how God loves.
Read Luke 14:25-33
Jesus was very plainly teaching that there is a cost to be His disciple. He expects our highest devotion, and He couldn't have made His standards more clear.
First, we must love Him even more than the people we love the most: our fathers, mothers, spouses, children, brothers and sisters. In fact, Jesus said we must love Him more than our own lives. True disciples of Jesus are sold out to Him. Jesus is not just a part of their lives; He is the center of their lives.
Second, Jesus said that we must carry our own cross in order to be His disciples. What did He mean? He wasn't saying, of course, that His followers must literally carry a cross on their backs wherever they go. The carrying of the cross that Jesus talked about must be symbolic of something.
In Jesus' day, when crucifixion was a common means of punishment, the expression He used was probably common. It would have meant, "Do the thing that you would naturally not want to do," or "Deny your selfish desires for a greater cause." Those who are Christ's true disciples have done just that. The most important thing in their lives is no longer pleasing themselves, but pleasing God.
Third, we must love Jesus more than any material thing if we are to be His disciples. Jesus owns us and everything we own. Therefore, He should have control over everything we possess, and we should do with it as He directs.
1. Disciple = Worship
The apostle Paul described true worship perfectly in Romans 12:1-2: “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, or well pleasing and perfect.”
True worship is God-centered worship.
Jesus tells us that true worshipers will worship God in spirit and in truth:
It’s also important to know that worship is reserved only for God. Only He is worthy and not any of His servants:
True worship is the acknowledgment of God and all His power and glory in everything we do. The highest form of praise and worship is obedience to Him and His Word. To do this, we must know God; we cannot be ignorant of Him:
Worship is to glorify and exalt God—to show our loyalty and admiration to our Father.
2. Disciple = Servant
Characteristics of a servant of God:
3. Disciple = Witness
Matthew 5:13: You are the SALT of the earth.
Be salt — that is, flavor and a preservative to all around you.
Matthew 5:14-16: You are the light of the world.... it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Riverview Family Devotion Guides
Family devotion guides are provided to help reinforce the "Big Idea" that is studied in Sunday School and presented in the Pastor's message each week.