Saturday, May 4, 2013

Weekly Impressions - Self Discipline

I have been trying to exercise a bit more self-discipline in life lately.  I have general plans (a walk during lunch, somewhat smaller portions and fewer sweets, a longer quiet time in the Word at night, taking my thoughts captive throughout the day), but haven’t been very good about sticking to them.  So I am working on being more intentional and have stepped up my self-discipline a notch to stick to them more frequently.

It is a wonder what God does when you are faithful to His will.  I haven’t been at this “heightened” level very long in each of the aforementioned areas (which honestly isn’t a whole lot more discipline), but I can feel the difference nonetheless.  I have only been walking briskly when I exercise on my lunch break, but God has worked through that so that I physically feel confident enough to run for a short time without nasty consequences.  My meal portions have been only slightly less, but my stomach hasn’t really felt unnecessarily bloated.  I rarely miss a night in His Word, but it’s usually just a chapter without much time for prayer and Meditation, yet God has enabled me to focus more on what I read in the Word and to hold onto its message longer.   When I remember to take “...every thought captive to the obedience of Christ...” (2 Corinthians 10:5) during the day, I see a tremendous rise in my mood.

So if this is what God does when I’m only putting a little more effort in... what amazing things will He do when I truly give Him all of myself?  Self-discipline isn’t the easiest thing to go “all in” on cold turkey, and I think that’s why God honors that little bit more faithfulness that we give to Him with even more of His goodness.  If I couldn’t see any good results of my improved self-discipline, I think I would lose the fire to do better.

Some of my lack is simply where I am in my walk with the Lord in Progressive Sanctification as He molds me to be more like Him.  That’s alright, because His “‘...grace is sufficient for [me], for power is perfected in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)  Yet, I also need to ask myself if I’m truly “all in,” giving Him my best.  Do I let myself laze about a bit, or do I “...discipline my body and make it my slave, so that... I myself will not be disqualified[?]” (1 Corinthians 9:27)

I often forget that, as a follower of Christ, I am daily in a pitched battle.  One cannot win a battle with half-hearted effort.  It takes self-discipline, and God has given us His strength to win each battle: “...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 am thankful for the goodness He has shown me in my little bit of faithfulness, that it has spurred me to want to be more self-disciplined, so that I can be of better use to Him.  That is the joy of following God.  

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