There is no progress without discipline. And many times, what begins as an ought to may become a want to.

This week we are talking about how Private Disciplines make all the difference in simply believing in Jesus to actually following Jesus!

Start Talking

  • What comes to mind when you hear the word “Discipline”?
  • What is something you dread to do, but are also so glad you did? Furthermore, what is something that was once an “ought to”, but is now a “want to”? Describe why you think this transition occurred
  • What role has private disciplines played in your life? Growing up, were you encouraged to develop habits that could be described as private spiritual disciplines (prayer, meditation, devotions, giving, fasting)? Did these habits carry into adulthood? Why or why not?
  • Have you been in a season when you felt like you believed in Jesus but didn’t experience Him in a real way?

Read This

  • Read Matthew 6:1–4 and Matthew 6:5–6.
    • What private disciplines is Jesus referencing in these passages?
    • What does He say about each one?
    • What is the benefit of getting alone and spending time with God? What are the barriers to doing this?
    • What is the benefit of giving our money back to God? How does this relate to our faith?
  • Read also Matthew 18:20 and 1 Corinthians 12:27
    • Why does meeting with other Christians matter?
    • How does this discipline get our focus off of ourselves?
  • When we neglect to nurture the personal part of a relationship with Jesus, we aren’t actually following Jesus anymore, we are just being religious. Our personal relationship with Him is what allows Him to lead us and moves us from simply believing In Him to experiencing Him. Talk about how private disciplines have impacted your personal relationship with Jesus.

What Now

  • Of the three private disciplines Andy Mentioned (Time alone with God, Percentage Giving, and Corporate Worship), which of the three is easiest for you? Is there one that is most difficult?
  • Would you consider going all in on these three private disciplines (First minutes of your day, First Dollars of the Month, First Day of the week) for a month?

Each of these things challenge us internally and personally, and that’s when our relationship with God comes alive and we shift from religion to relationship.

Additional Resources

Paul’s Letters Bible Reading Plan

Book: Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster