175. Importance of Private Discipline

175. Importance of Private Discipline

North Point Ministries have conducted focused research on how people grow in faith. As expected, they found that everyone grew in faith in so many different ways. But they found repeating categories of responses, so they have summarized and called them, “5P”: Private Discipline, Practical Teaching, Personal Ministry, Providential Relationship, and Pivotal Circumstances. Out of these five, there is only one we can fully control and do it consistently anywhere, anytime: Private Discipline.

Many Christians complain that they are not growing in faith or feeling complacent in their walk with God. There could be many reasons, but one of the primary reasons is the lack of private discipline. Even connecting with a good friend requires continuous investment of time and energy. When it comes to private discipline, “persistency” wins over “quality” every single time. As long as you don’t quit, there will come a moment of connection.

Honestly, I think that my morning devotion is the number one reason why I still feel connected to God, even through many doubting and trying seasons of my life. And I get it when people say they have a hard time keeping up with reading the Bible and praying. But I started this habit when I was in grade 7, with the Korean Bible that was full of difficult words (I mean, ancient words!) Looking back, I think God honoured that I tried and made the experience meaningful for me.

So, if you are planning to start private discipline, try the following: Begin with a modern translation of the Bible (recommend CSB!) and start reading one chapter a day. If it is a long chapter, feel free to read only half or one-third of it. Many people start with a “One Year Bible Plan,” but this is very challenging even for pastors. If you like the plan, then plan to finish it in two or three years instead. Many people confess that they are rushing to finish it, not being able to enjoy the reading itself. No one, including God, will give you a badge for reading it in one year. If Bible reading is still is too difficult, consider getting a study bible that helps you to understand the context better. If prayer is difficult, consider getting a prayer book and try following its instruction.

If growing in faith means growing in connection between “you” and “God,” and if God is always connected to you, then there is no one except you who can make it better. Connecting with an invisible God is harder than you think but more rewarding than you imagined if you simply continue.