A Worship Catechism (11)

67. How is faith nurtured?

Faith is nurtured through the grace-enabled practice of the spiritual disciplines (2 Pet 1:5-7).

68. What is spiritual discipline?

Spiritual discipline is imposing order upon disorder to nurture communion with God (2 Tim 3:3-6).

69. What is the first purpose of the spiritual disciplines?

The first purpose of the spiritual disciplines is to provide the opportunity for communion with God to occur, confessing our sins, consecrating our loves, and conforming our lives (Dan 6:10).

70. What is the second purpose of the spiritual disciplines?

The second purpose of the spiritual disciplines is to train the abilities, attitudes and habits fundamental to communion with God (1 Timothy 4:7).

71. What is the third purpose of the spiritual disciplines?

The third purpose of the spiritual disciplines is to structure and shape life so that its rhythms, routines and rituals shape the overall imagination and sensibilities towards communion with God (Deut 6:7-9).

72. What are the dangers associated with discipline?

On the one hand: laziness (Prov 26:13-16), lack of watchfulness (1 Thes 5:6-8; 1 Pet 4:7) and spiritual apathy (Mal 1:13, Rev 3:16-17); on the other: will-worship (Col 2:23), spiritual pride (Lk 18:11-12), and man-pleasing (Mt 6:1-18).

73. How do we avoid these dangers?

We understand that no progress is possible without discipline (2 Tim 2:3-6), while understanding that discipline is a means to communing with God, not the end in itself (2 King 18:4).

74. How is discipline related to the Gospel?

Discipline requires we, by the Spirit, mortify desires and habits hostile to faith (Rom 8:13), while reckoning ourselves alive to the empowering grace of obedience (1 Cor 9:27; Rom 6:1-23).

75. How do we reconcile desire and self-denial?

The Spirit will grant us desires (Phil 2:13), but these desires are fanned into flame and not quenched (2 Tim 1:6, 1 Thes 5:19) when we respond by working out those desires in vigorous, wholehearted action (Phil 2:12; Col 1:29, 1 Tim 4:12), which requires self-denial (1 Cor 9:25-27; Lk 9:23; Col 3:5).

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