Whether college students or students of life, when trying to learn something new we need the discipline of study. It's the same when it comes to our personal spiritual growth. Let's look at how we can become better students of and for God.
Our goal of integrating the Spiritual Disciplines into our lives is to transform our total person; to re-place old destructive thoughts and habits with new life-giving ones. Today we'll learn four steps that will help us make the most of our valuable study time. But first let's look at our definitions for this week:
SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES: habits that nurture spiritual growth; exercises unto godliness.
STUDY: application of the mind to the acquisition of knowledge.
The Bible tells us that we are transformed through the renewal of our mind. And our mind becomes renewed as we apply the things we've learned in new habits. Some of us have naturally good study habits but many of us need help in this area.
Here are four steps that I learned from Richard Foster's book Celebration of Discipline:
- REPETITION ~ channels our mind in a specific direction by ingraining thoughts. Whether rereading, re-writing or reciting material aloud, repetition always works for me.
- CONCENTRATION ~ our brain's natural ability is enhanced by centering our energies on our subject of study. Remove distractions and find a quiet place where you can focus. Again key for me.
- COMPREHENSION ~ understanding what we are studying is not always an easy task, but when we put the previous steps to work, comprehension is more achievable. Before we know it we have that light-bulb moment!
- REFLECTION ~ once we have defined our subject through comprehension we are ready to bring significance to what we have learned. With reflection we can now apply what we have learned to our life.
Whether listening to audio books, studying nature on a daily walk, or doing an intense scripture study, there are many ways we can become attune to the message of God's love in our lives.
One of the most important things I've learned from Richard Foster these last several years is don't get stuck reading only current books or publications. By alternating classic Christian literature into my reading, more depth has come into my spiritual learning experience. Now the classics are my preference.
If you are unfamiliar with Christian classics I encourage you to check out Spiritual Classics by Richard Foster. This excellent book contains excerpts from many of the greatest books ever written. It's designed like a devotional or can be used as a small group study.
Whatever your do turn off the TV, put down the smart phone and pick up a good book. You won't be sorry!
What's your favorite Christian classic book?
Click here to watch How to Study the Bible with Joyce Meyer and Rick Renner.
Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney
Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun