I want my faith in Jesus Christ to have the top priority in my life. Unfortunately, if you were to watch me Truman Show-style, you would probably quickly see that most days, it is a battle, often a losing one. I feel trapped in the cycle St. Paul wrote about in Romans 7, the cycle of continuing on in sin, giving in to my flesh and weakness, when I want to serve Christ and make my faith a priority.
As I’ve been reflecting on my past struggles and victories, on seasons when I’ve stayed the course and seasons when the battle has been overwhelming, and I’ve found a few patterns in what tools equip me to fight the good fight well. Unsurprisingly, most of the things that have helped make my faith a priority are spiritual disciplines that God has handed down for that very purpose.
Here are 7 Biblical spiritual disciplines to make your faith a priority this year:
1. Invest in your local church (serve the Body of Christ)
You are not an island, you are a part of the Body of Christ. Invest in the community, with both your time and resources and commit to participating in the Body of Christ.
You are not an island, you are a part of the Body of Christ. Invest in the community, with both your time and resources and commit to participating in the Body of Christ. Click To Tweet
Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:24-25, ESV
2. Find a way to serve the least of these
One of the clear calls of all Christians is to serve the least of these – the poor, the imprisoned, the marginalized, the child, etc. Whether you are serving with your local church or partnering with others towards a common goal, find a way to serve others and add it to your regular schedule.
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ – Matthew 25:34-40, ESV
3. Dedicate yourself to prayer
Make prayer a regular part of your life. Even Jesus was strengthened through prayer and urged His disciples to strengthen their resolve and ability to fight their flesh. If we want to live our faith, we need to devote ourselves to prayer.
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. – Matthew 26l41, ESV
4. Build a deep community
Build a deep community with those who will hold you accountable. We need to community to help avoid sin and grow in the good works God has prepared for us. An accountable community can look like different things – sometimes accountability looks like checking in, other times it looks like simply being present in your life, friends you don’t want to let down. Build a Christian community that is committed to praying for your holiness and allowing you to do the same for them.
Build a Christian community that is committed to praying for your holiness and allowing you to do the same for them. Click To Tweet
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. – James 5:16, ESV
5. Dedicate yourself to the Word
The Word of God is living and active. It convicts us, encourages us, instructs us, and strengthens us. It is foolish to desire to grow in our faith and neglect reading and studying the Word of God regularly.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. – Psalm 119:105
No, seriously, fast from food (as long as it is medically safe for you to do so). This is an often neglected biblical practice. I don’t totally understand the why and how of fasting but I know that Scripture teaches it is profitable for us and Jesus spoke of us fasting as expectantly as He spoke of us praying.
When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. – Matthew 6:17-18, ESV
7. Regularly examine your life and confess your sin
Confession is an integral part of Christian life. How can we grow in holiness if we do not denounce the ways in which we are unholy? If you want to grow in your faith, you need to look are the areas in your life you’re falling short, confess your sins, and recognize God’s forgiveness.
Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification . . . For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. – 1 Thessalonians 4:1-3, 7-8, ESV
Nothing happens overnight. We don’t go from light walks to running a marathon the next day. We train and grow and improve. Our spiritual lives are no different. We can’t expect these things to go from 0 to 60 immediately but need to start making process in the tools God has given us to help strengthen us spiritually.Confession is an integral part of Christian life. How can we grow in holiness if we do not denounce the ways in which we are unholy? If you want to grow in your faith, you need to look are the areas in your life you’re falling… Click To Tweet
So let’s keep pressing on, trusting in the Holy Spirit to equip us, each day, to prioritize our faith and live the life Christ is calling us to more fully.