Walking with Christ requires discipline. Discipline is more than just punishment for doing wrong, it is the active step of learning how to follow God through faithful obedience. I asked the men one question, “Other than reading your Bible, praying, and attending church service, what is one spiritual discipline a person needs to consider?” Here are their answers.
1. Meet weekly with a godly older man of the church (preferably an elder). Or if a woman, meet with a godly older lady. Many verses talk about example following (Titus 2:1-10, Matt 28:19; 1 Cor 11:1; Phil 3:17; 1 Thess 1:6; 1 Tim 4:12; Heb 13:7) — Greg
2. Join the church for corporate worship prepared. Do not just roll out of bed and go. Instead, “Sunday morning begins Saturday night,” Rick Holland. Get sleep. Prepare your family (if you have one). Be attentive and ready to hear God’s Word preached. Pray for the service, your pastor, the message, teachers, and the singing. Go with goals to serve, gather information from others regarding how you can pray, serve, encourage, or exhort them. Get to know new visitors. Set up times to meet people for lunch, dinner, or have family play dates. Plan to sing and sing for the glory of God and encouragement of believers. Take notes during the sermon. If you’re habitually late, why? Remove those obstacles. Get rest. Staying up late to get one more thing done or be entertained is pride. People require sleep, you and me both, do it. — Jason
3. Make evangelism your lifestyle. No, I am not advocating what is commonly called “lifestyle evangelism” where you try to “act like a Christian” and hope that it somehow points people to Christ. You should, of course, live in a manner worthy of your calling (Eph 4-6), but you should also open your mouth and tell people about Christ, about the hope you have in him, and how they too can have that hope. Practice working Christ into conversations, with friends, family, and strangers. Memorize Scripture that will help in this effort (start with John 3:16 and 2 Cor 5:21). Be careful to season your speech with grace and truth. Be intentional in your daily life about proclaiming the gospel. Here are a couple tips to help get you started:
(1) Be a creature of habit when you shop, buy gas, enter the marketplace. Take the time to pay for your gas inside, use the checkout line operated by a human, and visit the same places often. Then, actually speak to the people waiting on you, ask how they’re doing, offer to pray for them, and look for (and take) the opportunity to speak the truth of Christ.
(2) Take advantage of key openings: train yourself to respond to common questions. Just about every doctor will end your visit by asking if you have any questions. Learn to say “Yeah, can I pray for you?” Most waiters will ask if you need anything else when they bring you your food. Train yourself to say something like, “No, but we’re about to pray for our food. Is there anything we can pray for you about?” These are kind, caring ways to start conversations with people. It might feel awkward at first, but the more you do it, the more you’ll get used to it, become smoother, and you’ll find yourself looking for other chances to start conversations about spiritual things. Then look for ways to steer those talks to Christ and the gospel.
Evangelism doesn’t need to be an event you go to (though there’s nothing wrong with that either). Make it a habit, a lifestyle. Tell people about Christ. Proclaim the gospel! –Eric
4. Read hard things. There is a treasure trove of teaching and wisdom available to us today, that sets us apart as a generation of believers. We have access to the writings of the church fathers, the puritans and the great teachers and theologians of the 19th century. And you should be reading them! Are Augustine, John Owen and B.B. Warfield harder to read than Piper, MacArthur and DeYoung? Absolutely. But they are worth reading. Wouldn’t you like to hear what a christian who lived in an age when suffering was far more commonplace has to say about suffering? Wouldn’t you like to hear what the Scottish reformers thought was so important they preached from the scaffold before their execution? Read hard books, you will be blessed and your walk with God will grow. – John