This devotional is intended to align with a sermon series I will preach in the fall of 2022 titled, “Firm Foundation.” It is primarily a book about spiritual disciplines; not every spiritual discipline, but some of them.
My grandpa was a great man of faith. By that I mean he was a man of depth, a man of knowledge, a man of wisdom, and a man who was disciplined. There is that word again, “discipline.” That is a key word in our endeavors in this book. Although it isn’t used in the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5 there is another word used, “ἐγκράτεια” in the Greek. It means the “restraint of one’s emotions, impulses, or desires, self-control”  This means setting aside those things that grab your attention, those shiny things that draw us to them, those impulses for something better. That is what discipline is, it is the controlling and at times the setting aside the desires of the flesh, the “natural” desires for something better that is controlled by the Spirit. That is what Galatians 5 is about. Discipline plays a key role in that process. My grandpa had that and I’m working on it. Some days I do better than others.
This book requires discipline. It requires you to set aside time to do the work of reading God’s word, meditating on it, and then praying to God about what you are learning. But this book is about fundamentals as much as it is about discipline. I am a Jiu Jitsu brown belt. If you don’t know what that means, google Jiu Jitsu and you will quickly see what it is. A brown belt is an advanced belt. The next belt is black. In some martial arts you can get a black belt in 2-3 years, but Jiu Jitsu is different. It is considered pretty fast to get a black belt in 10 years and often it takes 15 or more years. That is if you are consistent and disciplined in your training. Even as a brown belt, I constantly train and work on the fundamentals. I am constantly making use of the basic positions and techniques. Why? Because they work. The most fundamental aspect of training is consistency in training over a long period of time. That is true with our spiritual life too. This book will teach you the basics of the faith, the fundamentals. If you will practice these things consistently for the rest of your life, you will become strong in your faith.
Last let me leave you with this challenge. The most important thing in your life is your relationship with Jesus. Not your spouse, your kids, your career, your bank account, etc. Those things are important, but they pale in comparison to your relationship with Jesus based on the gospel message itself. Prioritize these practices over everything else in your life. Study, pray, be in a community of faith (church), be generous with what God has given you, and proclaim the gospel. If you do this, you will grow in your faith.
 William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 274.
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Pastor John is writing these devotionals to go along with the sermon series "A Firm Foundation."