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November 1, 2017, 7:54 AM

Discipline Yourselves



Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“…though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:12-14, ESV).

Benjamin Franklin once said that if you take all your good habits and subtract all your bad habits, the result is your contribution to society. That’s an interesting thought, isn’t it? What we have been trained to do, whether good or bad, defines to some degree our benefit to the people around us – and to the kingdom of God. We need to grasp the fact that the sum of our good and bad habits will dictate who we will become. The kind of man or woman you will be in five, ten, or twenty years from now will be determined by the habits you have today. You can habitually learn to be kind, to think great thoughts, to be generous, to make great sacrifices, and so on. Those characteristics don’t come accidentally. You have to cultivate a lifestyle in which those things can occur and become second nature.

This may sound more like a psychological technique than a scriptural imperative, but the Bible is clear that discipline is a godly means of grace. Scriptural growth and spiritual greatness come to us through our recurring practices. Habits create a framework that God fills with his grace. They become the highway on which grace is delivered.

In 1 Timothy, the apostle Paul writes to the young pastor Timothy, instructing him in his pastoral role. He encourages him not to be afraid but to exercise his gifts of leadership. Then he tells Timothy to “have nothing to do with worldly fables.” “On the other hand,” he writes, “discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness” (1 Tim. 4:7). The world “discipline” can also be translated “practice” or “exercise.” It’s the same word we get gymnasium from, and it conveys the idea of going into training. And this is why it’s important, Paul says: “Bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (v. 8).

Godliness is profitable for eternity and it comes in large part through discipline. In other words, when we approach our spiritual life like an athlete in training and develop the habits of godliness in the same manner that a weight lifter increases his strength, the consequences last forever.

Let us join in prayer: Lord, let my body be a servant of my spirit and both my body and spirit be servants of Jesus, doing all things for your glory here. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens


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