“Have nothing to do with godless myths or old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for the present life and the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8
Discipline has never been my strong suit. I can love, laugh, endure, and cry with the best of them; but when it comes to washing down my sixth cookie with a gulp of my third refill of diet coke, impulse is my nature. I chose my college, dog, and even my husband on a whim! Only by the grace of God, I live to tell you that the results of those choices are blessings, but there have been too many impulsive decisions that did not give the return of joy for which I had hoped.
But discipline. Training myself, limiting myself, and choosing to honor God over instant gratification are my greatest challenges in my walk with Jesus. For years, I dodged the convictions in my heart to desert my hasty habits. I responded “Lord, I can handle this. Let’s focus on something different.” I brushed off discipline as something for the prudes.
Then, something shifted in me. I began to notice the weight of my repetitive choices. My split second spending began to create a rift in my marriage. The third cookie I ate the night before presented itself in the space between the button and loop on my jeans. My choices were not granting me the freedom I wanted but burdening my heart and soul. I felt heavy.
“The thief comes only to kill, steal, and destroy; but I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:10
The discipline the Lord desires us to seek is that we might have a life of abundance, not restriction! Satan presents freedom that is no freedom at all. The apple, presented to Eve by Satan, gave her more options– options of extreme consequence! Consequences that not only affected her but shifted mankind for eternity!
“I want to give you more and more life, Sweetheart,” Jesus whispered to me.
His persistence annoyed me until His grace reminded me that discipline is love. He came to me in my refusals and beckoned me to bare my complete self to Him. Surrender to Him not through control but through a loving, fatherly heart. God asks for surrender in exchange for full life. The life the Lord gives has healthy limits. I knew this, but application has been a different story, sister. It takes commitment to seek Jesus in my eating, spending, and everyday coming and going. We have to be doers of the word, not simply hearers and knowers.
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.” – Hebrews 12:11-12
Sisters, where can we lay down some excess to gain abundance? Let us throw off the sin that so easily entangles us so that we can run with endurance the race Jesus has marked out for us! Let us ask for discipline that we might be free.
“It is for freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
Holy Spirit, we thank you for helping us in our weakness. We cannot achieve discipline without your aid. Jesus, reveal to us how we might better love you with our lives and our choices. What you have is worth all we can offer. Strengthen us to make small steps forward. It’s our whole heart You are after. In Jesus’ name, Amen.