A few months ago, I got out of the habit of spending time with the Lord on a daily basis. First it was just one day I missed…then two…then before I even realized what was happening, I had missed an entire week.
Have you ever done that?
Maybe you’re too tired one day so you think to yourself, “Not reading my Bible just this once won’t hurt anything.” And you’re probably right. God is certainly not going to hold it over your head. He’s a God of grace, not a God of legalism.
On the other hand, though, maybe neglecting time with the Lord is a bigger deal than we sometimes make it.
Because at least for me, when I miss my daily time with the Lord, my entire day is thrown off. I’m much more irritable with my children, much less patient, and much more anxious and selfish.
When I neglect God, it shows.
On the other hand, when I connect myself to the vine each morning, that also shows in my behavior.
Granted, we should never view spiritual disciplines as simply self-serving. They do help us become more joyful, peaceful, patient, etc…but that’s not their primary purpose. They do help my days as a mom go smoother, but that is NOT the reason I practice them.
We do these things because they are God’s tools to transform our hearts. (But hey, I certainly enjoy the extra bonus of having a more peaceful home, don’t you?)
9 Tips for Spiritual Discipline: To Help You Stay Connected to the Vine:
1. Scripture Reading
This one is self-explanatory. Read the Bible. Choose a time and place that works for you, have a seat, and start reading.
2. Scripture Meditation
This is more than just reading the Bible. It’s personalizing it. Use a small chunk of Scripture and let it soak in.
3. Scripture Memorization
Allow Scripture to become a part of your life by memorizing it. After all, you can’t recall verses you need to share with your children if you don’t have any verses in your memory to recall.
Many of us tend to make prayer more difficult than it needs to be. I’ve heard hundreds of “prayer methods” that explain how to pray. If these methods help you, by all means use them. But don’t get so bogged down on how to pray that you neglect to do it. Prayer is simple. It’s a conversation. It’s you talking to God like you talk to anyone else.
Fasting is depriving yourself of something for the sake of God. Use the times when you would normally eat (or play video games or watch TV) to pray. Allow your fast to remind you of your constant need for God.
Fasting doesn’t have to be only from food. You can also fast from TV, the computer, Facebook or Twitter or (my favorite) Pinterest, video games, pop, sweets, etc. The point of a fast is to draw you nearer to God and pull you away from the world.
Read other Christian books as well as your Bible.
Here are a few ideas of what to journal: daily events, reflections as you read, feelings, prayers, memories, questions, world events, conversations, quotations, dreams, etc.
Worship isn’t reserved for Sundays. Or at least, it shouldn’t be. Make worship a part of your day-to-day life.
By Sabbath, I don’t mean just doing nothing on Sunday afternoon. I mean intentionally slowing your life and learning to be still before the Lord.
Will you join me this week in practicing some of these spiritual disciplines?
Because here’s the truth: If you start doing these things, I can’t promise you a life without problems. But I can promise you a transformed heart. (And I’m pretty confident your home will become more peaceful too).
Let’s talk…….Which of these spiritual disciplines do you hope to begin practicing?
About Lindsey Bell:
Lindsey Bell is the author of Searching for Sanity: 52 Insights from the Parents of the Bible. She’s also a stay-at-home mother of two, minister’s wife, avid reader, and chocolate lover. You can find Lindsey online at any of the following locations:
Her blog: www.lindsey-bell.com
Her website: www.lindseymbell.com