Gospel-Centered Spiritual Disciplines, part 1

As you’ve surely noticed, everyone is “spiritual” today. I saw a USAToday survey where even a majority of atheists consider themselves “spiritual” people. Come to think of it, I’ve never heard anyone say, “You know, I’m just not a spiritual person.”

What is spirituality?

Perhaps for many spirituality simply means spending time occasionally in personal reflection. For others maybe it means consciously trying to live by certain principles, or attempting to be thoughtful on important issues like the environment or homelessness.

However, the common perception of spirituality is not the biblical one. I’m writing from the perspective that spirituality includes—but transcends—the human spirit, and involves the pursuit of God and the things of God, through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit in accordance with God’s self-revelation (that is, the Bible).

Spirituality and the Gospel

This kind of spirituality is not self-generated; rather it is one result of the new spiritual life that God creates in the soul as He works through the Gospel. In other words, Christian spirituality is part of a life lived in response to the Gospel. In theological terms, spirituality is an aspect of the sanctification which necessarily begins at and follows justification.

Think of it this way: we come to God through the Gospel and we live for God through the Gospel. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him” (Colossians 2:6). It is through the Gospel by faith that we receive Christ, and it is through the Gospel by faith that we walk in Christ.

The Gospel—in a word—is Jesus. In a phrase, the Gospel is the person and work of Jesus Christ. That’s why we can speak of the Christian life as a Gospel-centered life. We come to God initially on the basis of faith in who Jesus is and what He has done for us. And we continue to come to God and to live a life pleasing to Him on the same basis. To paraphrase Paul in Galatians 3:3, having begun by the Spirit through the Gospel, we are perfected (that is, sanctified; made like Christ) in the same way—by the Spirit through the Gospel.

In part two of this post, I write about the role of the Spiritual Disciplines in a Gospel-centered life and also Gospel-centered Spiritual Disciplines in practice.

To read part two of this post, click here.


3 replies
  1. Ceceilia
    Ceceilia says:

    Please pray for our ladies who will be attending a new class, “Moms and Mentors”. It will begin meeting next Monday, and will meet every 2nd and 4th Monday at our church. I have spent months preparing for this class, which will divide the Spiritual Disciplines into two semesters. (At this time, we plan to take a break for the summer, since the church will be providing child care). I just received the revised version of Spiritual Disciplines For The Christian Life. I am so glad that I ordered it in plenty of time to convert my notes from my original copy and study guide (from the early 90s). I plan to start some type of blog, or perhaps establish a link on our church website. I would like to have permission to add your link to whatever I communication method I decide upon. Since the class is cross-generational, I’m thinking that many of the older women will not be prone to use FaceBook, so I will probably write a blog that I can also send out in e-mail form. I found come very relevant Bulletin Inserts on your site, and want to make sure that I can have permission to use these in my class. Thank you! Cece (Ceceilia) Campbell.

    • Don Whitney
      Don Whitney says:

      Sure, that will be fine. Glad you got the Revised & Updated edition of the book. You know there’s also a Revised & Updated edition of the Study Guide for the book, too, right? May the Lord bless your study!


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  1. […] of degeneration, decline or decrease from disuse. If you don’t exercise your faith through the spiritual disciplines then your faith will become so weak from disuse, you’ll fade away. That is the opposite of what […]

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