Dare to Discipline
I once met a woman who changed my life. She didn’t mentor me or guide me through trials and tribulations. She didn’t help to make all my hopes and dreams come true. She did one thing and one thing only. She resonated Jesus. When she touched me I felt Him. When she spoke to me, I heard Him, and when she looked at me, I saw Him. I had never experienced someone like her before. Her love for her Savior just oozed out of her without effort. You see, when I first met her I didn’t understand what made her different. All I knew was that the intimacy she had with her Savior was so contagious that somehow and in some way, I wanted to catch it.
But, the thing I learned pretty quickly after meeting her, was that the kind of intimacy she was experiencing didn’t come easy. There is only one way you get that; through discipline. You see, this woman was a prayer warrior. She had a life and ministry solely devoted to prayer. She would spend hours upon hours in the sweet presence of her Savior. It was her everything. And as a result of it you could not sit in her presence without immediately feeling like you had been with Jesus, himself. She resonated His power, authority and love in a way I had never seen before, and that is because she dared to live life in a way that I had never dared to live it before. She dared to discipline. You see, many of us we want the blessing of being godly, but not the sacrifice of being godly. We want the spiritual maturity and wisdom, but are not willing to give up anything to get it.
“But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.” 1 Tim 4:7
Friends, spiritual maturity does not come by accident, but it is only achieved through the intention and purpose of a disciplined spirit. So, when was the last time you disciplined yourself for the purpose of godliness? This word discipline implies a type of vigorous training. One where you strip away all distractions and aggressively train in an habitual and controlled way for a specific goal. How many of us can say that we are vigorously and actively disciplining our spirits to become greater vessels for God’s glory? When is the last time we, with intention, consistently stretched and built up our spiritual muscles of prayer or bible study? You see, for most of us, the idea of it sounds great. But unfortunately, the most difficult thing about discipline is the sacrifice that it takes to have it. You see, Olympians in training know that there are harmful things they can do to their bodies that can literally stop them from reaching their goal. So they abstain. Why? Because the weight of their goal pales in comparison to the sacrifice of their flesh. You see, I believe part of the reason we don’t sacrifice and discipline ourselves for godliness, is because we underestimate the weight of its results. Unlike the aspiring Olympian, to us, godliness is not worth the sacrifice that it sometimes costs.
“For bodily discipline is only of some value, but godliness (spiritual discipline) is profitable in everything and in every way, for it holds promise for the present life and also for the life which is to come.” 1 Tim 4:8
Friends, if we are not disciplining our spirits then we are not profiting our spirits. We have to begin to appreciate the value of godliness or else we will never commit to disciplining our spirits in order to attain to it. So many of us are wasting our time disciplining ourselves in the wrong things. We are working hard for the career goal, or that dress size, or even just that life dream. All things that will inevitably pass away. But the godliness that comes from a disciplined spirit is the only thing that will last and produce for us in this life as well as the next. It is what results in a life full of promise, hope, joy and peace. You see, godliness is to have the character and attitude of God, that is manifest by a devotion to God, which ultimately results in a life that is pleasing to God. Friends, it’s is the only thing worth training for, and yet it is the thing that we are least living for.
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you might win…Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I bruise my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.” 1 Cor 9:24-27.
Friends, we cannot run just to simply run. We must run with intention and intensity. We must run to win! You see, the durability of our spirit is determined by the discipline of our spirit. So the question is, how are we disciplining so that we might endure? Are we disciplining our spirits in the Word, so that we can stand on its truth instead of the Enemy’s lies? Are we disciplining ourselves in solitude, in order to train ourselves in the power of regaining a Christ-like perspective? Or are we disciplining ourselves in worship so that we might learn how to see and appreciate the beauty of God even in the mess of life? You see, though it may not seem like it, in discipline is where we find delight. Delight in His promise and delight in His presence. Friends, we cannot resonate His glory, if we have not first communed in His glory. And we cannot commune in His Glory, unless we first discipline ourselves to run towards it. Dare to discipline.
Questions to Journal Through
- When was the last time you were consistently intentional about disciplining your spirit? What did you do and how did it help you?
- Make a list of reasons you are not intentional about disciplining your spirit? Be honest about your struggles and bring them before the Lord.
- Do some research on spiritual disciplines. Commit to doing at least one each week for the next month and record the difference it makes in your life.