Rather, train yourself to be godly. - 1 Timothy 4:7
Life is full of times of training and discipline to our bodies. If we are studying for tests for school, we work hard and stay up late spending many hours exercising our mind to memorization. If we have a certain task to finish at a job we can wake up very early and work very hard till late at night, physically weary but enduring to get the job done. When an athlete trains for a special purpose their entire life can be under that discipline, their eating, sleeping, time, and body is under constant work to prepare for the task. In a similar way spiritually we are to follow the example of our Lord who disciplined his spirit and practiced certain disciplines in the body, mind and spirit that helped him follow the way of the Lord. Some Christians are willing to suffer all kinds of things for a job, sport or some other activity, but when it comes to growing spiritually we feel we should not suffer in anyway. This delusion that spiritual growth is automatic has caused many disciples of the Lord to stagnate or grow sickly in their progress with the Lord. Our Lord's example is above all, he had a holy fasting, holy suffering, holy poverty in his self denial. We see the Apostles emulating the Lord as they watched his life for 3 years carefully. As our verse shares we can "train ourselves" in the area of godliness, of course not apart from God's Spirit.
Here are some areas of spiritual disciplines, ask the Lord perhaps there is an area to practice and implement into your life. Remember there is no rule or checklist with God, ask him and be sensitive to his leading. Solitude is the act of being apart from other people totally for a time (Luke 5:16). Silence is the practice of stilling our tongue to listen to others and also spend time simply not talking and considering the Lord (Habakkuk 2:20). Fasting is to abstain from food to serve the Lord and pray (John 4:34). Sabbath is setting a day aside to rest in the Lord Himself and do no spiritual work (Exodus 20:8). Watching is abstinence from sleep to pray (Luke 6:12, Psalms 119:62). Meditation is to quietly consider some verse, truth, or aspect of the Lord for a period of time (Psalm 48:9, Psalm 46:10). Other more obvious disciplines we can practice are: Bible Reading, Worship, Prayer, Submission, Personal Introspection, and Service. Spiritual disciplines can be looked at like gaining a healthy habit. It takes repetition, time and dedication but the rewards are worth it. A Christianity that does not have spiritual disciplines is a weak, ineffective faith. Seek to grow and "train yourself to be godly" today.