Spiritual Disciplines (booklet)
This 10 page booklet includes four studies on The Word, Prayer, Fellowship, and Evangelism, as well as the "Wheel" illustration of the Christian Life in Action. The last couple of pages are 60 verses of the Topical Memory system. Below is the introduction . . .
This booklet addresses core Spiritual Disciplines. A foundational lesson in our pursuit of godliness is that progress requires intentional effort, discipline. St. Paul urges Timothy to, “discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline (gymnasia) is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7–8). The phrase “of little profit” is more literally translated, “for a little” (ASV): profitable for “a little” what? It is best translated “for a little time,” since the contrast in the context is “the present life and also for life to come.” In other words discipline which aims to strengthen the body will only affect this life, but spiritual growth will bear fruit not only in this life, but in eternity.
Believers are promised an eternal inheritance as kings and priests. Revelation 1:6 says, “He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father.” We are bought by the blood of Christ “to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth” (Rev. 5:10). But service, sacrifice, and sanctification come before the fullness of this reign. Spiritual disciplines are training for reigning.
This booklet sets forth some notes on a few core spiritual disciplines. It draws on two resources developed by the founder of the Navigators Ministry, Dawson Trotman. The first tool is “The Wheel Illustration.” This tool came about when Trotman altered a widely used illustration in his day. The Christian life was pictured as a stool with three legs representing the Bible, Prayer, and Fellowship. Trotman believed the Christian life should be in action. He strongly felt that sharing our faith is a critical part of the Christian life in action and so added to the other disciplines, evangelism. So the stool became a wheel with four spokes.
The “Wheel” as the Christian Life in Action illustrates a balanced Christian life which includes six aspects.
Faith in Christ and identity in Him is the center, like the hub of the wheel.
Obedience to Christ’s commands is the rim which holds the hub and spokes together.
The spoke up is Prayer.
The spoke down is the Word.
The spoke to the right is fellowship in church community.
The spoke to the left is sharing Christ with others or evangelism.
The “Wheel” is useful to help diagnose a confessing Christian’s needs for spiritual growth. Attention to each of these aspects (Faith in Christ, Obedience, Prayer, the Word, Fellowship and Evangelism) is a picture of the balanced Christian life of growth.
The second tool included in this booklet is the Topical Memory System. The TMS is a selection of 60 Bible verses arranged in five collections (A-E), with six topics per collection, and two verses on each topic. Learning each of these verses by heart has been of incalculable value to those growing as disciples of Christ. The Topics are as follows:
Live the New Life
Rely on God’s Resources
Be Christ’s Disciple
Grow in Christ’s Likeness
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more