Building a Strong Faith - Part 2  Cultivate Spiritual Disciplines

 

 

Icebreaker:  Describe a time when you disciplined yourself in order to reach a specific goal, or when you did not discipline yourself and failed to reach a specific goal.

 

1 Timothy 4:7 Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.

Romans 8:29  For those he knew he also Predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ

2 Peter 1:5-8  …make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive…

“Nobody can always have devout feelings: and even if we could, feelings are not what God principally cares about. Christian love either towards God or towards man, isan affair of the will.”  C.S. Lewis

 

Questions:

  1. In the past how have you felt about spiritual disciplines like Bible reading, prayer, fasting and evangelism? Be honest.
  2. Why do people who will discipline themselves for years to become proficient at their careers or sports quickly stop pursuing the spiritual disciplines? Has this happened to you?
  3. What single purpose unites the spiritual disciplines? Why is it so hard to maintain spiritual discipline?
  4. Look at the order of events in 2 Peter 1:5-8: Why must knowledge lead to self-control, and self-control lead to perseverance before the mature fruit of godliness ripens?
  5. Do you agree with C.S. Lewis’ assessment that your love toward God is principally an affair of the will? Do you sometime feel as though there is something wrong with your relationship with God if you don’t have an emotional experience?

 

“We have not advanced very far in our spiritual lives if we have not encountered the basic paradox of freedom…that we are most free when we are bound.  The one who would be an athlete, but who is unwilling to discipline his body by regular exercise, is not free to excel on the field or on the track.  His failure to train rigorously denies him the freedom to run with the desired speed and endurance.  With one concerted voice, the giants of the devotional life apply the same principle to the whole of life: Discipline is the price of freedom.”  Elton Trueblood

 

6.  Do you believe that discipline is the true price of freedom? What practical steps are you willing to take this week to begin building greater spiritual discipline into your life?

 

Pray for the person to your left about their answer to question 6