I recognized, recently, that there are a few areas of my life that require more diligent attention on my part. At the end of the day, it really boils down to commitment (or lack thereof) – am I fully “in” or not?
Naturally, the Lord in His wisdom (and humor, too – I am convinced that God laughs!) sent these words from the Bible directly to me:
You see, it’s possible to discipline yourself through sheer willpower, but such efforts rarely last long. You can discipline yourself by comparing yourself (or your possessions) favorably/unfavorably, but these approaches are doomed to failure, since the motivations behind them are superficial at best and downright depressing at worst.
By the way, the biblical definition of discipline looks rather different from the first few (bewildering) definitions found in the dictionary. As I see it, the term refers to a consistent and focused effort tempered by self-control, and the Power to persist in this regimen comes from the inside out (rather than the outside in).
So, as I examine the projects that I’ve let slide, I could approach them with human wisdom (“Make a plan and get it done!”), or recognize that God is using these experiences to grow and mature me along the way. Accordingly, when I get stuck, I need to do some careful examination when I experience a delay – especially when it’s of my own invention! – and, with God’s help, retrace my steps. Usually, it’s in this discernment process that I am able to identify how I got stuck in the first place, and fashion a new and different approach.
This is what happened today. I was frustrated over the linited progress I had made toward one of my life goals, only to realize that I had not allocated sufficient time and focus to make meaningful progress with it. So, as much as I am able at this time, I’m makimg some strategic shifts in my schedule so that I can continue to make real progress – includimg spiritual and emotional growth, too.
It may be that today’s post only makes sense in my mind, and that’s okay. However, today I am grateful because I received a direction about how I should be moving forward with the goals that I have set for myself. Sometimes, disciplining myself for the purpose of godliness is much more about the “how” rather then the “what.” If I understand what God is trying to accomplish in me through this experience, then my focus will be characterized by maturity, patience, and humility. However, if I believe that the accomplishing of my goals is only about me and what I hope to achieve, then I will never fully understand – or even care, really – what God‘s purpose is in all of this. For me, this latter option is tragic and unacceptable.
Dear Lord, thank You for sending me just the right verse today. Help me to remember that in all things, I am to discipline myself for the purpose of godliness. This means – to me, anyway – consistent and focused effort at whatever task You have set before me, while lookimg to You for help and guidance along the way. Thank You for this important reminder! In Your name I pray, Amen.