Saturday, April 27, 2013

Weekly Impressions - Choose Wisely

Self-discipline isn’t easy, but it is a choice.  I’ve been struggling with self-discipline lately on several fronts, and must keep reminding myself that the choice is mine.  

On the spiritual front, do I want to follow God and experience His Joy, or do I want to focus on myself and how “bad” things are?  Then I must choose to be obedient to His Word and commandments.  

On the physical front, do I want to let my pain take over, or do I want to do what I can for my body?  Then I must exercise, drink plenty of water, and monitor my diet.  

On the family front, do I want to stay up late at night and sleep in late on the weekdays, or do I want to get to work on time and provide for my family?  Then I must go to bed on time and discipline myself to get up on time.

The problem with each of these questions is that, at times, I don’t want to do the right thing.  My feelings do not always align with what is good for me - or others, for that matter.  Staying up late and sleeping in late feels good now, but it has its consequences.  The choice is mine to be made, and I cannot base it upon my feelings.  (I also maintain that love is a choice, not a feeling, for much the same reasons.)

Colossians 2:23 is a verse that I have to Meditate on:  “These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.”  What am I using for my self-discipline?  Am I using something that is of no value in my battle?

For example, what do I turn to when I am depressed?  The first question I often ask myself is, “How did I get here?”  It isn’t necessarily a bad question, but I have the tendency upon answering it, to think that that the circumstance is what sent me spiraling.  If that’s the case, then I need to change the circumstance, right?  

This is wrong for two reasons:  1) I am not in control of my circumstances (to a point), God is, and 2) it wasn’t the circumstance that made me depressed; it was the fact that I placed my hope in the circumstance instead of God, and from there, allowed my self-focus to spiral me downward (probably because I’m focused on the fact that I’m not in control of my circumstances, instead of on the fact that God is).

Once I’ve started down that path, I feel less and less like I want to turn to God and focus on Him, or be obedient to Him in order to get out of my turmoil.  Yet my feelings are of no value against fleshly indulgence.  I must discipline myself if I am to pull out of it.  

That’s hard.  However, I am not alone, “...seeing that His Divine Power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” (2 Peter 1:3)  Through the true knowledge of Him.  “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)  He gives me the strength.  “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)  I’m not the only one who has struggled with this issue (though the world may have you think so, here the Bible says you’re not), and God says in His Word that He will give me a choice.

So... what will I choose this moment?  This day?  This week?  This year?  If I choose to follow God intentionally, and to be obedient to His Word, and to spend time with Him regularly, meditating upon what He has told me, then it will be easier to choose righteousness in those split-second-choices that will lead me toward or away from God; toward or away from “a good mood;” toward or away from “health.”

What are you choosing?

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