If I can understand how Jesus got so spiritual, maybe I can duplicate it… at least I can imitate his spiritual habits, therefore growing into something like his spirituality.
So what habits did he practice in order to grow spiritually? We found out in the last blog that “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Luke 2:52 NIV). So his powerful spiritual life grew out of his habits rather than coming upon him instantly.
And last time we also looked at some of these spirit-building habits:
- study of the word
- service to other people
- consistent prayer
Also, some of the comments on that first blog brought out two other productive habits of Jesus’ spiritual life: he obeyed his parents and he persisted without giving up in the face of persecution.
- Fasting. Jesus both taught and practiced this often-neglected spiritual discipline. He fasted 40 days in the wilderness after the Spirit led him there to be tested by Satan (Luke 4:1-13). He withstood this fiery trial because of his habit of fasting and prayer. He didn’t even begin his public ministry until this trial had been won by fasting. And he taught his disciples, “When you fast (not if) do not look somber as the hypocrites do… But when you fast (not if) put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting…” -Matthew 6:16-18 NIV (emphasis added).
- Worship. With Jesus, worship wasn’t reserved for formal occasions. Once when 72 of his disciples returned from ministering in the Spirit’s power, Jesus “full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and revealed them to little children.'” -Luke 10:21 NIV. And in his confrontation with Satan, Jesus said, “For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'” -Matthew 4:10 NIV.
- Surrender. One of the highest-level spiritual habits Jesus practiced, and one of the hardest we attempt, is surrender. Amazingly, Jesus once said, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” -John 5:19 NIV. If Jesus couldn’t accomplish anything without his Father, then I must learn the same sort of surrender to have any chance at growing spiritually.
Jesus also spoke about this type of surrender by saying, “Those who love the life they have now will lose it. But those who are willing to give up their life in this world will keep it. They will have eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me. My servants must be with me everywhere I am. My Father will give honor to anyone who serves me.” -John 12:25-26 ERV.
Can you think of other spiritual disciplines that Jesus practiced? Give us your insights…