Discipline: Thoughts for further studyMonday, June 24, 2013
It has taken me years, yes years, to reach this place where I can say with confidence that my role as a Christian has to include some disciplined action on a daily basis in order to stay obedient to my God. (This is not the same as saying that my salvation is dependent on my actions, as mentioned in the introductory post to this series.) All this to say, that even though I've only spent time on two spiritual disciplines there are more. But when you come to the decision that you need to discipline yourself it is best to start with one commitment at a time and to not overwhelm yourself. Once you have become disciplined in one behavior then you move on to the next one, adding to your Christian skills so to speak...
These truths only started to truly sink in for me once I became a mother to a toddler and discipline became a daily job. I am not sure who thought the whole process was worse, me or my son! But I began to realize how important it was for my son to learn that behavior leads to consequences, and that being disciplined in many behaviors would lead to wonderful consequences and not painful ones. Of course this lesson showed me the importance of becoming self-disciplined myself. And so I started on a journey, putting forth the effort to read my Bible daily - as I accomplished that I added in prayer (earnest prayer, not the times I was teaching my son, or at service, or at a study). And now I am slowly adding in scripture memorization... and let me confess that is one painful discipline for me!
Take the time to realize when you are acting like a rebellious child and not obeying the direction of your Heavenly Father. If you are not liking the "time-outs" He is giving you (think of the "time-out" God gave to Moses as he spent 40 years in Midian- Exodus 2:11-15), try to act in obedience now by scheduling time to read your Bible daily, or pray earnestly daily... your efforts will be fruitful (1 Corinthians 1:9).
Of course some of you might be reading this and think:
Well, I am doing fine, I go to church, I am in a Bible study, and I teach my kids, so that should count as my Bible and praying times, even if it doesn't really happen every day. I mean, it happens often...And to be honest there were many times when I felt this way. Until one time while I was reading the story in Exodus (Exodus 16) when God sends manna to His people. You see, He sent manna daily, because He was disciplining His people to come to Him every day for the nourishment they needed. God always wants His children to enjoy the best He has to offer, however, in order to enjoy this blessing we must daily (always, continuously) turn to God in full reliance of His provisions. You recall that all good things come from God alone (James 1:7).
Of course as it sunk in that I would have to be self-disciplined, I started to feel overwhelmed. But again there was wonderful comfort in the Truth... self-discipline and endurance to continue every day are spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit will give as we need it. So this is an endeavor that will not require all your will-power to learn, because you have been given the supernatural power of the Spirit to assist you along the way. (Romans 15:5, Galatians 5:22-23, 2 Peter 1:2-9)
I pray that if you are reading this, you will hear God's call to you. Turn to Him and receive His grace. Then as you receive the Holy Spirit and hunger for a stronger relationship with Him, you might find the need to "discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness," in an effort to praise God in your actions. When that time comes remind yourself to take it one step at a time. As any professional athlete or musician will tell you, you have to build upon the fundamentals and for Christians spiritual disciplines can easily be thought of as our fundamentals.
Have you enjoyed this series? Let me know! Tell me what you think, I love to hear from you.
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Want to read the other posts in this series?
Discipline: A Practical Step
Discipline: Bible Reading
Ready to add to your "fundamentals"? Try some of these spiritual disciplines. I've included some links that I find helpful...
- Memorizing scripture: http://thenewmrsadventures.blogspot.com/2013/06/scripture-memory-system.html or http://www.memoryverses.org/tricks.htm
- Silence & Solitude
**Here are some links I've used to gain personal knowledge, however most of my thoughts were influenced by different Bible studies and church sermons over the past two years.
http://christianteens.about.com/od/christianliving/a/What-Are-Spiritual-Disciplines.htm (has a good list of Spiritual Disciplines if you want a more complete list then what I mention)
http://www.amazon.com/Spiritual-Disciplines-Christian-Pilgrimage-Growth/dp/1576830276 (Wonderful book if you would like to add a source to your library)
Linked up with: http://www.create-with-joy.com/2013/06/inspire-me-monday-week-77.html, http://the-life-of-faith.blogspot.com/, http://www.whatjoyismine.net/2013/06/mondays-musings-66-birthdays.html, http://www.thebettermom.com/, http://www.momstheword--livingforhim.blogspot.com/, http://www.littlerandr.org/, http://www.upwardnotinward.com/, http://proverbs14verse1.blogspot.com/, http://womenlivingwell.org/category/women-living-well-wednesdays/, http://rachelwojo.com/, http://www.simplyhelpinghim.com/2013/06/26/wisdom-wednesday-linkup/, http://www.mydailywalkinhisgrace.com/, http://www.deeprootsathome.com/