The Forgotten Disciplines

by Mario Vega

The books of the Bible were written in the context of agrarian societies. Those societies were displaced primarily by the industrial revolution and now by the information age. Along with the society changes came the replacement of spiritual disciplines which we need to bring back since they are worth transferring to the new generations.

One of the disciplines is patience. In our world of instant messaging, fast transportation and communications in real time, there is not much room to develop the habit of patience. However, it remains true that God’s work is developed through processes that may take years. God is not impressed by our instant methods. Rather, we are the ones who need to acquire the patience to wait on his timing.

Another is the discipline of prayer. I’m not referring to the pragmatic prayers that we so often make, but rather the discipline of praying for changed lives, character, and getting to know God, rather than simply praying to acquire more things.

Perhaps the most neglected of the disciplines is that of self-denial. In a world that is motivated by comfort, enjoyment and well-being, the idea of dying to ourselves is considered strange and even far from what we understand today as Christianity. In our culture, a faith that calls us to die to our self doesn’t really fit. But today as always, dying to ourselves is an urgent need. Remember Scripture tells us that if the grain does not die, it does not bring forth lasting fruit.

These disciplines can only be delivered to the next generation by means of modeling and experiencing them. There is hope for the future as long as we have men and women who will model patience, humility, and dependent prayer. Such people will generate disciples who will know how to love and develop these ancient disciplines.