DISCIPLINE IS A PRACTICE
Do you want to gag when the Pastor says you must become more disciplined in the Word?
Have you ever rolled your eyes when some “saint of the church” advised you to just pray harder?
Do you just about want to throw up when another will advise you, “If you would start getting up earlier, maybe at 4 a.m. like I do, maybe you could see a change in your Christian walk too? ”
If you are anything like me you have heard and done all the above because when the subject of discipline comes up, in reality, we cringe and hide. Most often when I hear the subject of the day is discipline, I tend to want crawl under a rock while knowing I need more of it… Am I really the only one who could use more discipline in my life? Really?
First, before we get into ” discipline” as it pertains to the Bible, let’s define what discipline is…according to a google search…I find the meaning to be “learning to act in accordance with the rules, activity to develop a new skill set.”
Discipline is learning and it is being active!
So, what does becoming disciplined in the Word look like? I can’t answer this in one definition. Discipline is different for each of us. When I see the word “discipline” I immediately see the word disciple. When I think about disciple, I can’t help but think of Christ and His 12 disciples. These men were regular people, like you and me. They were not disciplined in the Word when they encountered Jesus. It was only after meeting Jesus, that these disciples started putting into practice what they were learning at His side.
Even Peter, who walked closely by Jesus’ side for three years, failed when He needed him most. So let me put your mind at ease about your own walk of discipline. You will never “arrive” at a place where you will be able to say “From now until I die, I am disciplined!” It can’t happen and it won’t happen. It is only when we get to heaven that our soul will be disciplined perfectly. But this isn’t to say we shouldn’t practice discipline now.
So what are “disciplines” of the Word and how do I develop these?
There are no disciplines which are set in stone. You won’t find any category listed which read…”Learn these disciplines for a perfect Christian life.” I think it might have been easier, at times, if there were. Because it would be cut and dried, all listed in order…do this one first…then work on this one…then when you get to the bottom of the list, it would mean discipline is finished, Check! But you will never arrive at the point of DISCIPLINED! It can’t happen because we are human. So let me give you a list of what are my areas of discipline am striving to work on…
Here is the list of what I consider “Disciplines” in the Word, This is also my disclaimer because this can’t be an exhaustive list. The Bible is too deep and rich for me to understand it all. But these are disciplines we should all be practicing daily.
Spiritual disciplines to practice daily:
- Pray each day. When you sit for your quiet time with God, pray until you have reached a time of feeling overwhelmed by His presence. Throughout the day, your prayers will look different. Don’t close your eyes when you drive and pray, but you can still pray while driving. When you reach for your phone for a quick update from your social media friends, instead, stop and say a two-minute prayer. Pray before meals or pray after a meal.
- Worship takes many forms. Music is great for some to have a meaningful worship. Meditation is how I sit quietly and think of God’s character traits. Physical activity can be a form of worship…dance, hands raised to Jesus. Worship until you can say “amen” in your soul.
READING THE WORD
- Here you actually pick up the Bible and read…not glance over, but actually, take the time to read it…three times, maybe four times, maybe out loud, might be using two or three different translations to read the same scripture. You can read just a verse or two and stop or some days, you may read an entire book of the Bible. There is no rule here except to read until you know there is a connection between what He has written for you and what you know in your Spirit.
TAKING CARE OF OUR PHYSICAL SELF
- We only have this one body and one life to give. Discipline in our physical bodies is eating right for our personal needs. Exercise to keep the muscles limber and loose. Setting ourselves apart from drama and stress by physically removing ourselves from the situation. Monitoring what we see and hear on TV or social media.
- Sweet fellowship with others means we must be open, honest, vulnerable, transparent, a good listener, never giving into gossip, never spilling secrets. Fellowship means forming friendships with God at the center. Many of us have family members who do not know the Lord or desire to know Him. It will always be this way. But as Christian women, we can pray for our family and seek guidance from God to reach out to other Christian women for friendship. Pray for a spiritual mom if you don’t have one, reach out to younger Christian women and ask God for a woman you may mentor.
- I will be the first to admit, this is the area I struggle with the most. I have told God on more than one occasion, NO. Yet, I will strive to fast. Fasting is a discipline spoken of many times in the Bible but you don’t hear about it much. We like our food. We like plentiful food. We like our things too. The amount of time in fasting is very personal and between just you and God. He says to fast in private and not tell others. What you fast from is a personal decision also.
- By serving others, you are displaying the Gifts given by the Holy Spirit. Everyone has been given a variety of gifts. If you are good working with your hands, then build something, fix a child’s bike, mow someone’s lawn, just use the hands God gifted you to have. If you bake, bake extra for an unexpected gift for someone else. If you sew, sew dresses for the underprivileged, fix a pair of pants for someone. If you like to read, read to a shut-in. If you unsure what gifts you have been given, ask yourself this, “what do I like to do in my spare time?” You will usually do the thing you are good at and enjoy doing. This is a gift from God. This is also a discipline you can learn more about by serving others.
QUIET TIME & STILLNESS
- We have so many noises coming at us throughout the day. There are demands and requests for our time, we must find time for quiet. Quiet time, a time of being quiet and still is quite hard for some. There is no set time to complete this… In your quiet time and stillness, sit in the quiet until you know you and Jesus are connected. You will know when this happens.
I admit I don’t have these disciplines perfected. But I am striving for the prize!
I have walked with Jesus over 30 years, He is my best friend and confidant. But there are days I don’t sit with my Bible and read until I am filled. My mind wanders off with a mind of its own. Serving? I get tired of serving others…as a missionary, that sounds awful. But I want to be transparent here. Fasting? Ugh…I like food. Quiet time and Stillness? Hmmm….I think I am taking advantage of this one. I might be getting too much quiet time and stillness because my sitting in my quiet time is getting in the way of taking care of my physical body…such as exercise.
Am I only the one that struggles with disciplining myself? I would so love to hear from you all. Tell me your ideas on overcoming obstacles in the path to being more disciplined in your life? What are your areas in which you struggle the most? Let’s be praying for each other.