The word “discipline” may resonate with you as either self-control or punishment. For many it’s an unpleasant word. But throughout history God’s people have accepted spiritual practices that are known as disciplines. These disciplines may come in the form of abstinence, saying “no” to things one should not do, and engagement, moving forward with things one should do. Hebrews 12:11 says that a harvest of righteousness and peace is the result for those who are trained through discipline. It isn’t pleasant at the time, but great gain is in store for those who exercise discipline.
Scriptures – John 10:10; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Timothy 4:3-4; Acts 20:32; Psalm 37:5; Hebrews 4:12
Verse – The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Ga 5:19-21) Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. (Ps 37:5)
Thought – You may need to say “no” to some places you’ve been going or some people you’ve been hanging out with. If your path isn’t taking you in the right direction, change it. You may need to say “no” to food, alcohol, prescription drugs, pornography. You may need to say “no” to unforgiveness, anger, worry, fear. Lay down your pride and surrender to Jesus Christ. With God’s power, you can get out of your rut. The things you need to say “no” to are personal to you. You know what things are dragging you down, holding you back and keeping you from experiencing the abundant life God offers. Now, what about things you need to say “go” to? You may need to set aside a place where you spend time with God each day—read your Bible, pray, talk with God. Participate in worship each week. Make time for Christians friends who encourage you on your journey and hold you accountable. A revolution will take place when you make seeking God and reading His word a priority. Scripture is truth, hope, encouragement, strength, and guidance. You cannot make consistent progress without filling your heart and mind with God’s word.
Questions – What do you need to say “no” to? What do you need to say “go” to? What are your personal disciplines? What has helped you most. What is your greatest struggle regarding discipline? What practices are easy and don’t seem like disciplines anymore?
Response – Find a quiet place and make a list of things you need to say “no” to. Be honest about what the Holy Spirit is saying. Date your list so you can be accountable for it. Also, make a list of things you need to move forward with, things you need to “go” with. Systematically begin to address what you need to do. Read God’s word every day. It will guide your path and strengthen you.
Prayer – Dear Lord, thank you for the power that you provide through your word. I want all that you have for me. Keep my heart and mind on you and may your love live in and through me. In Jesus’ Name I pray, amen.