This Wednesday, we began a new series in youth group on the Spiritual Disciplines. Our first lesson was an introduction to the topic, focusing on what they are and why they are important.
The word discipline is perhaps a strange word to find in the context of youth group, because for most teenagers it probably carries the primary connotation of punishment. However, we also saw that the word can mean “controlled behavior/self-control,” a “branch of knowledge/instruction,” or “training intended to produce moral/mental improvement.” This latter idea hits closest to what we’ll be talking about in regards to the spiritual disciplines.
In short, the spiritual disciplines are practices—usually either commanded or modeled in Scripture—that help us grow in our journeys as disciples of Jesus. In fact, the words discipline and disciple share the same latin root. As such, the spiritual disciplines are practices that help us along as disciples of Jesus.
In the weeks to come, we will dive into more detail and discussion about what some of these common practices are, including things like Bible reading, prayer, fasting, and others. It’s important to remember that these practices, while good, are not a goal in and of themselves. Rather, they are simply means by which we pursue our goal: to grow in our faith in the Lord’s salvation and in our love for God and others (Mark 12:28–31). We pray that as we dive into them, each of the teens (and even adults) will be encouraged to pursue the Lord with their whole hearts.