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Spiritual Disciplines

Brett and Kate McKay | September 4, 2017

Spiritual disciplines are habits, practices, and experiences that are designed to develop, grow, and strengthen certain qualities of spirit — to build the “muscles” of one’s character and expand the breadth of one’s inner life. They structure the “workouts” which train the soul. Some spiritual disciplines are personal, inward exercises that are practiced alone; others require interpersonal relationships and are practiced in community.

Throughout time, many philosophers, theologians, and writers have proposed a number of practices that might be considered spiritual disciplines. These include:

Meditation
Prayer
Fasting
Simplicity
Fellowship
Journaling
Chastity
Stewardship
Submission/Obedience
Study
Evangelism
Contemplation
Confession
Solitude
Gratitude
Self-Examination
Silence
Celebration
We have chosen eight of these spiritual disciplines as being the most vital for men in the modern day and inclusive of varying belief systems, and which incorporate several of the other disciplines within them. This series will explore these eight as four complementary pairs:

Study and Self-Examination
Silence and Solitude
Simplicity and Fasting
Gratitude and Service
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Encountering this article is a large confirmation for me as I have spent the greater part of my life seeking the same and overjoyed to find a similar conclusion.

A correspondence with the four elements was a touchstone from the beginning for me. Simplicity to the extreme is my middle name. Therefore I was compelled by the same inspiration to reduce the “magnum opus” of my life to FOUR WORDS properly placed:

Study and Self-Examination – Fire – Faith
Silence and Solitude – Water – Chastity
Simplicity and Fasting – Air – Fasting
Gratitude and Service – Earth – Prayer