Updated: Jun 19, 2020
So, you have surrendered your life to Jesus Christ and you’re now wondering: ‘what’s next - what exactly should I be doing since I have finally committed my life to Jesus’. Or, you might actually have been a Christian for several years and you are not exactly proud of your Christian journey so far - you want to know what to do in order to make sure that in the next few months, you are much further along in your journey with the Lord.
If you’re wanting more, or you want to know how to grow up in your faith, this article is for you.
Every maturing Christian lives out these FIVE disciplines on a daily basis. No matter what you do, make sure these FIVE disciplines are present in your life in an increasing measure for they are the meat and potatoes of Christian maturity.
Let’s jump right in it!
Discipline # 1 - READ the BIBLE
Reading the Bible is the most basic discipline in the life of every growing Christian. The Bible is God’s Word to mankind and it must be devoured on a daily basis. Look at the attitude that we are commanded to have towards God’s Word.
As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby - (1 Peter 2:2)
Newborn babies cry out for milk every 2 hours .......at least. They want to drink, drink and drink some more. They don’t drink a whole lot at one time, but they do drink often throughout their day. You will certainly hear raucous and wailing cries if you fail to give them their milk at the right time. And if you try to pacify their screams with hugs and kisses, you will quickly find out that only milk will satisfy.
The Bible tells us that our attitude towards God’s Word should be like that of a newborn babe. And it also tells us what will happen if we have that attitude - we will grow. As we feed on God’s Word, one sure result will occur, we will grow more and more.
Growing up in our faith means that we are becoming more like our Savior Jesus. That is exactly what God wants out of our lives. He wants us to be like our Savior in our conduct, speech and lifestyle. He want us to model Christ through and through. This modeling can only be done as we feed on God’s Word.
It is unfortunate that the average Christian doesn’t spend even 12 minutes per day reading the Bible. That’s very sad. Commit today to start devouring the Word of God. Ask the Lord to give you an insatiable desire for His Word. Feed on it daily and you will be on your way to some crazy growth in the Lord.
Discipline # 2 - Pray Daily
The second discipline of every growing Christian is daily Prayer. Look at the attitude the Word of God says we should have as it relates to prayer. It says:
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Colossians 4:2)
Prayer is an essential discipline for the growing Christian. In prayer, we are committing and recommitting ourselves to the Lord. We are also strengthened in our love walk with the Lord by prayer and also empowered by Him.
Prayer is more than just talking to God. In prayer we submit ourselves to the Lord. We seek His will for our lives and we receive power to do His will.
I’m pretty sure that at one point or another every Christian has found it hard to develop a prayer walk. If you struggle in prayer, let me share with you three simple steps that can help you develop a powerful prayer walk.
Make a list before you pray. Just by having a little order can help you pray effectively. List in order the things you want to bring to the Lord in prayer.
Get a stop-watch - yes, that’s not a typo. You need a stop-watch. I know you’re wondering why. Well a stop-watch is very effective in helping you to pray with focus. Let me explain. When you have made your prayer list, start your stopwatch for 3 minutes (just an example) and pray for the first thing on your list until the stopwatch alarms. I have found this to be a wonderful help. For most people, 3 minutes is pretty short and so you are able to pray with great focus knowing that it’s only for 3 minutes. When the alarm goes off set it again and pray about the second item on your list. Keep going until your list is finished. You will be amazed how effective this little technique is. Try it and feel free to let me know if this helps.
Pray for others - Many times our prayer time is all about us. But you would be amazed how beautiful our prayer time could be if we would lift up others to the Lord. Pray for your unsaved friends; Pray for your pastoral leader; Pray for your spouse and kids. Pray for others as if their issues were your own. One person who stands out to me in God’s Word who had this ‘others focused’ attitude in his prayer walk is ................... Do you know his name? He is Epaphras. Look at what the Word of God says about his prayer life:
“Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” (Colossians 4:12)
Epaphras wrestled in the spiritual realm (prayed fervently) so that others would stand firm in their walk with the Lord.
Always pray for others when you pray.
Discipline # 3 - Practice saying ‘NO’ to temptation
Every growing Christian develops the habit of saying ‘NO’ to temptation. It is impossible to grow up in your faith in Christ and at the same time, consistently sin against the Lord.
The Word of God blatantly tells us:
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.....”. (1 John 2:1a)
God’s Word was written to us so that we would not sin against the Lord. Not sinning against the Lord should be the aim of every growing believer. Unfortunately today, we see many professing Christians ‘glorying’ in their sin and then gleefully speaking about God’s grace. We live in a day and age where the word ‘grace’ is thrown about so much that the impression given is that grace is a license to sin. But let us look at God’s Word again.
Titus 2:11-12 declares:
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age”.
Look at that! God’s grace teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions.Those of us who have experienced the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ must say ‘No’ in the face of temptation if we are ever going to grow up in Christ.
What I love about the Lord is that he provides all the help we need in order to say ‘NO’. Look at what 1 Corinthians 10:13 says:
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
There is never a reason for the Christian to say ‘yes’ to temptation because God in His faithfulness always makes sure that we are not tempted so forcefully that we have to give in. He also goes the extra mile and provides us with a door of escape in the face of every temptation. Let us take full advantage of God’s help and resist the devil’s attempts to get us to sin against the One who dearly loves us.
Discipline # 4 - Confess Your Sins one to another
Although, as Christian’s our aim is to walk before the Lord in a blameless manner, there are times when we fail our Savior. We end up sinning against the Lord. What should we then do? We must confess our sins.
Look at what James 5:16 says:
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective”.
God’s Word commands us to confess our failures. There are some who think we only confess our failures to the Lord. However, we are told to confess our sins to each other. Every growing Christian needs a godly friend he/she can openly confess their failures to. Never allow your sin to become your secret. Expose it to a godly friend or leader. It is imperative that we confess our struggles to a godly friend because we need to be prayed for.
Our confession has a purpose to it. We are declaring that we need help, spiritual help from the body of Christ and one of the most powerful ways we can be helped is by having others pray for us.
It is imperative that we realize our need for others to pray for us. But we can’t receive prayer if we keep our failures a secret. We must confess them. Please notice what happens after we are prayed for - we receive healing. Healing from guilt, healing from sickness, healing from demonic oppression.
Always remember - Every growing Christian confesses their failures to another believer in Christ.
Discipline # 5 - Serve in your local Church
The final discipline of every growing Christian is that they serve in their local church. Unfortunately, many professing Christians have no time for serving the Lord. The common excuse is that they are busy. But that’s not the real truth. The truth is we have not prioritized our Savior.
When Jesus is first place in our lives we serve Him. Our service is necessary for the advancement of the kingdom of God on earth. One of the ways we serve the Lord is by getting involved in our local assembly. We can serve by giving monetarily to the ministry, by using our gifts and talents, by winning others to Christ, by equipping other believers etc. Although all these ways of serving are good, but we serve best when we know our God-given purpose. If you’re not sure what your purpose is as yet you should read - ‘21 Days To Knowing God’s Will’ - A Biblical devotional for discovering your God-given Purpose.
Every believer has an essential role to play in the body of Christ and we must play our role effectively. The endpoint of our service should be discipleship - helping others grow more and more into the likeness of Jesus. Do you recall Jesus’ final words to his disciples as he ascended to heaven. He said:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Mathew 28:19)
Every growing Christian should actively help in introducing people to Jesus and helping them along their journey towards becoming more like Christ. Becoming more like Jesus, our Saviour, is the whole point of life itself. As we become more like him we actively help others to do the same. Every growing Christian is involved in this wonderful work called discipleship.
These five disciplines must always be present in our lives in order for continual growth in the Lord to occur.
In writing this short article, my hope and prayer for you is that you will continually grow deeper in love with Jesus, the Savior of the world and be continually conformed into His likeness.