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  • Writer's pictureKim Arnold

Women and Christian Discipline: Growing in Christ in our Everyday Days

As a woman launching her only child into adulthood, I am in a season of reflection and anticipation. I often reflect on the past 19 years and remember a flood of memories of my son’s childhood. There are memories of vacations spent exploring God’s creation, the first and last days of school, and birthdays and celebrations. There are also memories of sleepless nights and illnesses, hospital stays and numerous prayers uttered from a mother’s troubled heart. But this season of reflection runs parallel to a season of anticipation. Seeing God guide my child as he searches for his path in this world, of the place where God is sending him to shine His light, is unlike any moment in my parenting journey thus far. These two seasons go hand-in-hand, creating tearful moments full of hope, and a twinge of sadness at the days coming to a close. 

The purpose of today’s article is to encourage women, no matter their stage in life, to be faithful in the everyday moments in which God has placed them. Whether your days consist of being at home with your children all day, working outside the home, enjoying the first days of marriage, or reflecting on a lifetime of memories, we can each discipline ourselves to grow in Christ no matter our circumstances. The word “discipline” is not often well-received in today’s society, but it is a necessary part of the Christian’s life. 

Discipline to Read the Bible

If you struggle to find the time to read your Bible daily, let me encourage you to fight hard to make time in your schedule. Sinclair Ferguson writes, “The ability to focus our gaze, fill our minds, and devote our hearts to Jesus Christ is a basic element in real Christian growth. Inability to do so is a sign of immaturity.” How does a woman grow in Christian maturity? One vital way is through the daily reading of God’s Word. The author of Hebrews says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account (4:12-13).” As we read the Bible day after day, year after year, the Holy Spirit leads us on our journey of sanctification to be more and more like Christ. One of the beauties of reading through the entire Bible in one year is to read anew about God’s attributes. If we do not actively read God’s Word, our responses to the world around us will come from a center of self, not a center of God. When hardships and trials come, we must be prepared by having God’s Word flow from our hearts and minds.We need to remind ourselves, as Katharina von Schlegel wrote in the 18th century, “Be still, my soul, the waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.” Learning to stand in the storm must come from preparation, not reaction.

Discipline to Pray

Martin Luther once noted, “As it is the business of tailors to make clothes and of cobblers to mend shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray.” I often hear women say that they are too busy to have dedicated time to pray each day, or that their minds wander while in silent prayer. Let me offer some suggestions if you fall in one or both of these categories. 

First, as mentioned above, fight to set aside time in your schedule for prayer. For example, I think best when I first wake up in the morning. Therefore, I read my Bible shortly after I get up, and I discipline myself to stay in that posture through my prayer time. Often my prayer flows naturally from my Bible reading, and I talk to God about what I just read. I use the acronym ACTS to guide my prayer: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. If I do not discipline myself to set aside prayer time every day, I will never confess my sin. I will offer some thanksgiving prayers throughout the day and pray prayers of supplication, but the vital component of confession will be absent from my “popcorn” prayers. I need the quiet time of a disciplined prayer life to actively and regularly confess my sin before the Lord. He uses his Word to teach me, and I need to confess when I take my eyes off him.

Second, as busy women, our minds are constantly processing information regarding our husbands, children, jobs, church, friends, etc. Pushing pause daily on the schedule helps us sit quietly before the Lord, allowing him to calibrate our hearts and minds toward him. You may find that softly speaking your prayers aloud helps you focus more clearly. Or, you may find journaling your prayers helpful. There are many helpful means to aid you in your prayer life. The point is to schedule daily time with the Lord, where he speaks to you through his Word, and you respond to him in prayer. I like Glenna Marshall’s honest approach to prayer: “Prayer is when you talk to the Lord about your apathy, your emptiness, your struggle to feel motivated to obey him. Be honest before the Lord, for he knows your heart better than you do. Pray for him to rekindle your affections for him, pray for him to help you persevere when you don’t want to, pray for him to help you see his faithfulness to you more clearly.” The bottom line is, pray.

Discipline of Scripture Memory

When looking at our hectic schedules, it’s easy to think memorizing Scripture is something that can be put aside until a later time. But Marshall, again, helpfully writes, “Memorization moves us from study to application, from knowledge to affection.” The goal of Scripture memorization is not to simply accrue verses to mark as “memorized.” Rather, the goal of Scripture memorization is to saturate our lives with the Word of God, so whatever circumstance we find ourselves in, Scripture flows from our hearts and minds. If we see something beautiful in God’s creation, we say with the psalmist, “The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them (Psalm 89:11).” Or when we are tempted to doubt God, we say with Paul, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).” In other words, as Donald Whitney writes, “When Scripture is stored in the mind, it is available for the Holy Spirit to take and bring to your attention when you need it most.” Just like we alter our schedules to read God’s Word and pray daily, we also find time to memorize Scripture. Consider using Bible memory apps that you can use while standing in line at the store or waiting in the pick-up line after school!

Discipline to Grow in Knowledge of the Lord

There is one final discipline I want to mention, and that is the discipline of reading theological texts. You may be tempted to think that books on theological topics may not apply to your daily living, but allow me to recommend a few texts in this area to jumpstart your thinking. This is a broad category, and texts can include everything from practical Christian living to biographies to commentaries. Here are a few I recommend:

  • Maturity, Growing Up and Going On in the Christian Life by Sinclair Ferguson

  • Spiritual disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney

  • Eight Women of Faith by Michael A. G. Haykin

  • Everyday Faithfulness: The Beauty of Ordinary Perseverance in a Demanding World by Glenna Marshall

  • The Creedal Imperative by Carl Trueman

  • Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves

  • The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl Trueman

  • The Holy Spirit by Sinclair Ferguson

  • Christ-Centered Worship by Bryan Chapell

  • Changed from Glory into Glory: The Liturgical Story of The Christian Faith by Scott Aniol

This is just a list to help you think about the wide range of books that can help you grow in your faith. I always find biographies of Christian women from history encouraging to stay faithful in the day-to-day moments (I have especially enjoyed biographies of Puritan women and Reformation women).

I hope this article has strengthened you to stay diligent in your disciplines, knowing that God’s Word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11). Setting aside time with the Lord daily is vital for mature Christian growth. We cannot depend on ourselves for wisdom and strength, for we would immediately deplete ourselves. Instead, we must study God’s Word and hide it in our hearts so that when the winds blow, our feet are planted like a strong oak tree. We need daily prayer with God to calm our spirits and commune with our sovereign Lord. Lastly, we need the wisdom of present and past theologians to help us accurately understand the truths found in God’s Word. As Marshall writes, “Our hearts are easily desensitized by our culture, our entertainment choices, our desires for comfort. We can unknowingly lean toward unbiblical but popular theology if we are not reorienting ourselves to the truths of Scripture on a regular basis.”

Kim has been married to her college sweetheart, Jason, for 24 years and they have one son who is a high school senior. Most recently, Kim completed her Ph.D in Church Music and Worship from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She has presented at Evangelical Theological Society and The Society of Christian Scholarship in Music, and her works have appeared in The Hymn, Artistic Theologian, and Baptist History and Heritage Journal.


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