It takes time, commitment, and discipline to train our flesh and mature in Christ, and one of the most important disciplines is investing in God’s Word. Growth in personal holiness is determined by our progress in self-discipline.
The human mind is powerful and God intended for us to use it for His purposes. But in our busy, high tech, instant everything, IPhone society, we’re often too distracted, and self-discipline is either fleeting or resisted. If this is the case, our spiritual lives are out of balance.
Remember: No discipline, no discipleship.
To pursue holiness, a believer must hear biblical preaching and teaching, and participate in corporate worship, the Lord’s Supper, Bible reading, meditation, prayer, and fellowship. Further, he must deny many legitimate pleasures if he is to win the prize.
Watchman Nee once stated:
“If you would test the character of anything, you only need to inquire whether that thing leads you to God or away from God.”
We need to understand that one way or another, there will be discipline in our lives. We either choose to discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness or we will be disciplined by God.
…After more than 25 years of being a born-again Christian, I still remember secular song lyrics from the 1970s and 80s, just from hearing and maybe singing along with them over and over. That’s how repetition works. It works for Scripture as well!
My challenge to us is to reevaluate our personal lives so we can focus on things that matter in terms of eternity. Without discipline, there can be little godliness and without dedication to God’s Word, there can be little fruit.
…By self-rule, we bring every thought, word, and deed under control in order to obey teachings in Scripture. Any progress in personal holiness demands self-control. Disciplining the mind is a great place to start!
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5
Our brains are amazing flesh machines, creations of an intelligent Designer. But a simple old analogy still applies:
Garbage In, Garbage Out.
God doesn’t program our minds for us! It’s only by the work of Christ and the Spirit of God that we can train ourselves to fill our minds with truth while resisting worldly things. We must do both!
…Victory always comes at a price. The effective Christian life demands we exercise self-discipline in areas like food, drink, sleep, our speech, family priorities, work, leisure, time management, and money. We must exercise self-control and restrict our liberties in whatever would hinder us from winning the prize.
Paul instructs Timothy, “study to show yourself approved by God as one who handles the truth accurately.” And,
“…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:12b-13)
…One more thing. Are you hearing sound, biblical teachings at your church? Is the whole counsel of Gbeing preached and controversial issues of today addressed? Do you listen to worship music with lyrics that are edifying and scriptural like the classic hymns?
*Christian music is good – at least it’s an alternative – but is it beneficial, faith-building, and edifying? Not all of it. Music is entertainment and even the Christian music industry has become a business. Let’s be biblical and discerning when selecting worship songs!
Let’s also be open to being refreshed by the Holy Spirit, challenged in His truth, and renewed by discipline of our minds.