Mission Incredible: The Disciplines
Spiritual disciplines are godly habits that help us grow closer to God and live our “Mission Incredible” for Him!
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Mission Incredible: The Disciplines
(For your convenience, we are providing a PDF download version of the interactive lesson below. This will save to your downloads on your device, or your folder of choice on your computer.)
What does the Bible say?
Memorize this verse
This week’s verse: 1 Timothy 4:15 – “Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.” (ESV)
What truth is God speaking to us through His Word?
Listen for God’s voice through the verse
– Practice godliness (we talked about what this is last week!)
– Do your spiritual disciplines – these are good, godly habits!
What can we learn about these truths?
Draw your kids into this concept through this reading
As Christ-followers, we have a “Mission Incredible” that God has called us to, and our mission is to live for Him! Last lesson, we started talking about how to train ourselves for godliness. We began learning about a young man named Timothy who was discipled by his spiritual father named Paul. Our “Mission Incredible” lessons are hugely based on all the lessons that Paul taught Timothy.
This week, we are going to talk about the spiritual disciplines that Paul emphasized to Timothy.
Spiritual disciplines are good, godly habits that we practice on a regular basis to help us train for godliness – which means to be like Jesus!
Our family has good habits – like eating nutritious food, brushing our teeth, exercising and getting enough sleep – to help us train to be physically healthy. We can also have good, godly habits that help us train to grow closer to the Lord and live for Him!
Now, Timothy had some great training for godliness. He was very blessed to have the Apostle Paul as his godly, spiritual teacher. However, in the background of Timothy’s life, Timothy also had two other people who discipled him as well. You could say his two mentors were the first ladies of the “Mommy Disciple Me Club”! Their names were Eunice and Lois.
Eunice was Timothy’s mother, and Lois was his grandmother. These two ladies were Jewish women who placed their faith in Jesus. When Timothy was born, they taught him to put his faith in Jesus, too. They also taught Timothy some good, godly habits and spiritual disciplines.
Paul reminded Timothy to practice these things and “immerse” himself in them – kind of like jumping off the diving board into the swimming pool instead of just sticking your toe in the water!
Paul wanted Timothy to practice diving into the Bible, saying: “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing those from whom you learned, and that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:14-17).
Paul wanted to make sure that Timothy understood the importance of practicing the good habit of being in God’s Word, just like his mother and grandmother taught him to do. This is what we are doing, too! We always start with the “Word” in discipleship.
Paul also challenged Timothy to practice diving into prayer, saying:
“I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone… This is good, and it pleases God our Savior.” (1 Timothy 2:1-3)
What is good and pleases God is learning how to pray, which is what we’ve been doing as a family, as well! And I’m so proud of you for this!
There are also other spiritual disciplines, too, like meditating on God’s Word. To meditate means to think about, to turn something over and over in your mind. When we meditate on God’s Word, we deliberately think about it and ask Him to speak to us through it. This is what we are learning to do in the “Whisperings” section of our discipleship. Each week, after we read our Bible verse, we pause, quiet ourselves, and practice listening to what God wants to say to us through His Word. God speaks, and, with the spiritual discipline of meditation, we learn to hear His voice!
Memorizing Scripture is another spiritual discipline. Each week, as we memorize a Bible verse, we are training for godliness.
There are other spiritual disciplines, as well, such as fasting, serving, giving, and more. We will talk about these more in the future, but, for now, I love that we are learning to practice the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible reading, meditation and memorization!
Let’s start memorizing our verse that goes with this lesson! It says: 1 Timothy 4:15
1 Timothy 4:15 – “Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.” 1 Timothy 4:15
(Let’s be sure to say the reference before and after the verse, so that we can remember its “address” in the Bible!)
I love that on “Mission Incredible” we are practicing all we learn about being incredible for God! I’m so proud of you kids!
What questions do we have about this?
Talk about the questions that arise
– What good habits does our family practice? (eating healthy, wearing sunscreen, exercising)
– How does it feel when we practice our good physical habits? (sometimes fun, sometimes hard) Are good habits always easy? (no!)
– What does it mean to “practice” for godliness? (to work on it, to train for it, to do it over and over, to put effort into it)
– What are spiritual disciplines? (good, godly habits we do on a regular basis to train for godliness, help us grow closer to God and live for Him)
– What are some spiritual disciplines we can practice? (praying, memorizing Scripture, meditating on Scripture and listening for God’s voice)
– What does it mean to “immerse” ourselves in our good, godly habits? (to dive in!!!)
What else does the Bible say about these truths?
Look at this concept in other places in God’s Word
Old Testament: Spiritual disciplines are things we find throughout Scripture, from the Old Testament to the New Testament. Moses told Joshua to meditate on God’s Word (Joshua 1:8). God told His people to pray (2 Chronicles 7:14). Esther and the Jews fasted from food and water for three whole days when they cried out for deliverance (Esther 4:16). The writer of Psalm 119 memorized Scripture (Psalm 119:16). King Jehoshaphat led Judah to listen for the prophecies and worship God during time of great need (2 Chronicles 20:20-22).
The godly people of the Old Testament were diligent to practice growing closer to the Lord and living for Him. They never did this perfectly, but their lives are examples of how we, too, can practice good, godly habits!
New Testament: In our last lesson, we talked about how the Apostle Paul said, “Run in such a way as to win the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24). Right after that, he wrote: “Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable crown. So I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that…I myself will not be disqualified” (2 Corinthians 9:25-27).
Disqualification in the ancient Olympic games was serious business. If you made a false start in a race, you could be whipped or physically beaten! Olympians had to exercise self-control and diligence in their training so that they ran well!
But here’s the thing: they ran to win a crown that wouldn’t last – remember, it was an olive branch! However, when we practice our spiritual disciplines, we are training to win a crown that is imperishable – that is, it will last forever! Seems like a good deal to me!
But we will not win that prize without effort! God’s Word tells us to be self-controlled, determined, focused, and willing to practice our spiritual disciplines as we live our “Mission Incredible!” It’s not easy to practice good habits of godliness, but it’s something we choose to do as we run for the crown that lasts forever! That’s a big prize!
How can we live out these truths?
Suggested Idea: Use thin branches to make crowns like the olive branch crowns ancient Olympians sought to earn. If your kids are little, keep these where they can wear them during this week’s lessons; if your kids are older, encourage them to just hang their crowns somewhere noticeable, like on their bathroom mirror or the car rearview mirror. These “perishable” crowns are going to look good for a few days, then they’re going to start drying out. Point out that “imperishable” crowns – the ones God gives – last forever, which is pretty good motivation for practicing what He says!
Spiritual disciplines are good, godly habits that we practice on a regular basis to help us train for godliness – which means to be like Jesus! This week’s verse reminds us to “practice these things, immerse yourself in them” (1 Timothy 4:15). Just like we need to stay committed to our physical exercise, we need to stay committed to our spiritual exercises, too.
Now, if you were going to run an important race, would you show up on race day without ever having tied your tennis shoes, stretched your muscles or gone for a jog? No way! You would do the disciplines of training for the race!
In the same way, we do our spiritual disciplines to prepare us for our “Mission Incredible” with God! We’ve already started to train our physical bodies by (tell what your family decided to exercise in last lesson). Now, what is a spiritual discipline we have talked about that you think God would like for you to practice more? We’ve talked about prayer, Bible reading, Bible meditation and memorization, and fasting. Is there one that stands out to you as something that you need to strengthen your spiritual muscles in? Let’s talk about how we can dive into practicing this.
(This is a GREAT time for you to disciple your children about spiritual disciplines! Take time now to do this. Teach them what you know, then continue the conversation along the way!)
How shall we respond to the Lord for these truths?
Praise and prayer as a family
Worship through Praise: Lord Jesus, we are so grateful that, as we run after You, You have a prize for every single one of us – a prize that lasts forever! Thank You for Your loving kindness to us! Amen!
Worship through Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to train hard to live for You! Teach us how to use our spiritual disciplines to grow closer to You and to serve others. Amen!
Family Disciple Me
Speak this blessing prayer over your children
I am discipling you about good, godly habits like Paul, Eunice and Lois discipled Timothy. I pray “you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 4:6). May the spiritual disciplines we’ve discussed become part of your heart and soul for a lifetime, so that all may see your progress (1 Timothy 4:15). In Jesus’ Name, amen!
© 2018 Tosha Lamdin Williams, Mommy Disciple Me