As we have asserted in the past, God is a process-oriented problem solver. Salvation, transformation, sanctification, etc. – all the ways of God are processes, not events. This is a critical paradigm shift for anyone determined to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

In the New Covenant, God has taken responsibility for the lion’s share of these processes.

  • We are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).
  • We are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10).
  • He is working in us to will and do to His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13b).

Our responsibility is to do what we can to participate with Him in the processes. His grace is appropriated by our faith. We must walk in the good works He has prepared for us (not do them, as most translations have it). We must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:13a).

Let me stop here and quickly acknowledge that God has grace (i.e., enabling power) for even our part in the processes He has created and prescribed. We are left with little more than choosing Him and His ways. This includes the process of faith.

The Process

Faith is our entry point into every one of God’s processes. The righteous shall live by faith (Romans 1:17); and without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). We do ourselves great harm in thinking that faith is passive and/or simply an event. The Scriptures are clear on this matter: the process of faith consists of three progressive phases.

The hearing of faith: Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). Genuine followers of Christ have been given ears to hear (Matthew 13:16). It is time we used them (Matthew 11:13). Hearing requires listening; listening takes time and requires attention.

Obedience to the faith: The preposition here is important. Our faith does not produce obedience (of). We must choose to obey the word of God that we are given for faith. We present our body as a living sacrifice and allow the Holy Spirit to renew our minds (Romans 12:1-2), reckoning the truth of God’s word as true for ourselves – that we are instruments of righteousness (Romans 6:11-14).

The work of faith: The work of faith is an inward (Philippians 2:13) and an outward work (Ephesians 3:20). Faith without work is dead (James 2:14-26). The work of faith associated with the word of God is more than a product of faith; it is the catalyst that brings our faith to life.

The Disciplines

Discipline is not a concept you hear much about in the 21st century church. This tragic oversight is both product and source of the compromised gospel. Leaders have become fearful of calling their congregants to discipline; lack of discipline has undermined and weakened our following after Jesus Christ. We are caught in a vicious cycle.

Clearly, the process of faith requires our participation. In An Enemy Lies Within, God identifies sixteen disciplines that every Christian should consider. The following organizes them by process phase – with a fourth category of foundational disciplines added.

For brevity sake, only the lists of disciplines are provided here. Each of these is more fully explained in An Enemy Lies Within. Additionally, there are thousands of “spiritual discipline” resources available. One of my favorites is The Spirit of the Disciplines, by Dallas Willard.

Obviously, pursuing every discipline at one time is not an optimal approach. We recommend beginning with the foundations and then proceeding through the list by phase. Along the way, be sure to ask God which ones are His particular focus for the maturity of your faith.


Prayer – Romans 10:17

Study – 2Timothy 3:16-17

Love of God and Man – Mark 12:33

Being Discipled and Making Disciples – Matthew 28:18-20

The Hearing of Faith

Surrender – John 5:30

Worship – Psalm 100:4

Being Quiet Before God – 2Corinthians 10:5

Discovering God’s Desire – Psalm 37:4

Obedience to the Faith

Repent – Acts 2:38

Reckon – Romans 6:11

Renew – Romans 12:2

Submit – James 4:7

The Work of Faith

Trust the LORD – Psalm 37:5-6

Practice Righteousness – 1John 3:7

Fasting – Isaiah 58:6

Fellowship – Ephesians 4:13

Spiritual disciplines are God’s way for participation in the work He is accomplishing in, and through, His people. God meets us there for the advancement of His kingdom. To shun the spiritual disciplines is equivalent to saying, “No thank you; I am not interested.”

God bless you with desire and commitment to join Him in the good works He has created for you to walk in.

Humbly yours and forever His,