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Monday, April 1, 2013

3 Discipleship Essentials for Vital Spiritual Health

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Three Discipleship Essentials for Vital Spiritual Health - By John C Arnold

The other day I needed a quick workout and thought, "What are some basic exercises I can do that will cover the  basics?" I settled on push-ups, crunches and jumping rope. I mixed these up for 30 minutes. It was not ideal but nevertheless provided a great workout.  If I regularly did only these three  exercise I would have a strong foundation of basic health.  Similarly, I have three discipleship essentials that I maintain so that my baseline spiritual health is vibrant. They are study, prayer, and action. I love the acronym S.P.A. that they form. It's easy to remember and evokes images in my mind of a peaceful place that is restorative to my health. Consistently attending to these three practices as a simple discipleship guide will insure you a solid foundation of spiritual health. Each of these practices feed core aspects of what it means to be a faithful disciple.
Study
A disciple by definition is a student. You cannot be a student and not study. You understand truth and sound doctrine through study and these are essential to being a faithful disciple. When it comes to studying nothing is more critical than studying the Word of God. If you are already studying the Word, consider also studying the lives of faithful men and women of God. You will be inspired and spiritually fed. Studying one of your spiritual gifts can also be valuable study time.  Or, consider studying a particular spiritual discipline such as, prayer, fasting, or tithing.  At any given time you should be able to answer the question, "What are you studying?"  If not, then select a book of the Bible now and start studying and/or join a Bible study group, such as a Sunday School class immediately.
Prayer
Being a christian also means having a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Great relationships require great communication. They require time and attention that involves both speaking and listening. Jesus once said, "On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'" Matthew 7:22-23. He was speaking about people who would appear to be doing all of the right things but lacked an actual relationship with him. Prayer is a discipleship essential for strengthening that relationship.  So, "How is your relationship with God?"  Your answer will depend heavily upon the health of your prayer life.  If you are not happy with your answer, then start boosting your prayer life now.
Action
"Faith without works is dead" James 2:20.  If you love the Lord and you are grateful for all he has done for you in Christ, you will show it with your life.  Jesus called us to follow him.  That means doing as he did, loving as he loved, forgiving as he forgave, and serving as he served.  So, being a Christian means doing certain things.  In fact, Paul in his letter to the Ephesians says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."  Ephesians 2:10.  Paul explains how God made some prophets, some apostles and some teachers.  He also explains that people were given those gifts to build the body.  God expects us to act daily in ways that will build the kingdom.  At anytime you should be able to answer the question, "What are you doing for God?" How are you serving right now?
You can use the three questions, What are you studying?, How is your relationship with God?, and What are you doing for God? as a simple discipleship guide. Think of these three question as your personal trainer prodding you spiritually.  If you aren't happy with the answer to any of these question, then seriously examine how you are doing in terms of study, prayer and action.  There is no substitute for these discipleship essentials if you want to be vibrantly spiritually healthy.
John Arnold has been teaching people for over 25 years how to read and apply the word of God. For another great article on discipleship essentials visit his website http://thepracticaldisciple.com. John Arnold has numerous tips and tools at his site that have helped countless people deepen their spiritual lives and strengthen their relationship with God. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=John_C_Arnold  Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4971512


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