I Corinthians 9:24-27 (NLT)
Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
To achieve one’s purpose in life requires discipline. Without it, people are just wanders. Recipients of fate are not those who seek the reward of faithfulness which is destiny. God has created a lavish destination for His Children. The only way that a believer will ever attain the prize of righteousness and truly answer the high calling of God is to learn to remain on task. Attention deficit disorder is a standard diagnosis for one’s inability to remain focused. At a very young age, one of my own children was labeled with such a title. We tried everything including medicine that would work temporarily. Deep in my spirit, I wonder if there really is such a thing in the eyes of God. The characteristics of ADD are evident. But I wonder if it is only an issue because of man’s need to create a society of “normal” people. People who take the medicine often do not like how it makes them feel. There are side effects to the medication that are adverse to the human body. But if children who have such overly active imaginations and are highly spirited do not have this advantage they will struggle through school, unable to meet benchmarks and society will label them failures. However, it is interesting to note that kids labeled are often able to maintain their attention if the subject is of interest to them. Their ability to focus is highly dependent on their personality and interest. Their individual mind created by God has key points of interest directly tied to His Plan and Purpose for life and when tapped into that source the ability to be attentive is present. A valuable asset to people with ADD is to be taught organizational skills such as making lists, to be given extra time to complete tasks and remove distractions. All these things sound like discipline but not as the world perceives it with punishment and isolation but as God has ordained it.
Discipline is derived from the Latin word “disciplina” which means instruction given to disciple. In cases of ADD, the world has chosen to give people medication to cause an instantaneous change physiologically to make them meet the parameters of society’s norm. However, God created the same person with a purpose that will require instruction to disciple. We are called to be disciples. (Matthew 9:9) When Jesus selected the original twelve they were not all rabbis or scholars but ordinary people just like you and me. His Request was simple, “Be my disciple and follow me.” Jesus did not say, “Do as I say not as I do” as many Christians do today. A disciple is one who is a pupil adherent to the instruction of another. Are you a disciple of Jesus Christ? If your answer is yes, then you will experience the discipline and instruction of the Lord and His Spirit as He leads you and guides you in faithfulness, righteousness and obedience. Such a mentality unites the Body of Christ, as we make our way to Eternity. (Philippians 1:27) Our purpose now is to please God and not people so society’s idea of normal is no longer our own as we have decided to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and a Child of God! (I Thessalonians 2:4)
Deuteronomy 8:1-5 (NLT)
“Be careful to obey all the commands I am giving you today. Then you will live and multiply, and you will enter and occupy the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors. Remember how the LORD your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t blister or swell. Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the LORD your God disciplines you for your own good.
To be a disciple of Jesus Christ did not end when Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven but the title fits all who have chosen to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior in their life. It is for today! The death of Jesus Christ and subsequent payment of the sin penalty of mankind did not change the calling in any way. You are still called to a life of obedience even though at times you will fail. If people today could fully grasp the title of “disciple” and the responsibility of God’s People to live according to His Word and follow Jesus, there would be a revival in the church and Body of Christ like never before as all of God’s People united with God’s Purpose instead of accepting society’s view of normal. The Purpose of God is revealed to those who learn to obey ALL of His Commands and learn to follow in the Footsteps of Jesus Christ. It is a high calling but a humble one, too. Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good. Just like our children, we often are not fond of the Lord’s Instruction and choose to rebel. The challenges of parenting are met with many different responses. There are attentive and inattentive parents. There are lenient and strict parents as well. As many personalities as we encounter are parenting strategies most born of love and affection for our children. But God is perfect and His Ways never change. We are raised by various people with many different expectations but God has only one – the fulfillment of His Purpose so His Discipline, Instruction and Guidance is unrelenting because He knows the End from the Beginning and is unwavering in His Promise to take care of His Precious Children.
Psalm 32:8-9 (NLT)
The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
If believers want God’s Very Best, it will require discipline in life to continue to follow His Way. The Word of God is useless if we choose to ignore it or remain disobedient in our actions. (Proverbs 29:19) The Truth only has power to change our life if we know it and obey it. Faith without works is truly dead and leads to the grave if unused to follow the Lord and live by His Truth. (James 2:26) The Lord has given us freedom and with that freedom He has entrusted us with His Spirit to lead and guide us as we follow Him. But there is a problem, it is called the flesh. It is our will that lives in side us next to God’s Spirit that is in constant rebellion against God wrestling for control of our mind and body to fulfill its own selfish, sinful desire. It causes our mind and eyes to wander from the Lord until our feet soon follow. Suddenly, believers find themselves shrouded in darkness with sin that has bound them once again. How did this happen? Where did things go wrong? It is a lack of discipline that facilitates a cycle of sin. Without taking God’s Truth and making it a way of life, you will live in constant turmoil between the world and God. It is time to come to repentance once more, but this time when laying down sin, shame and guilt, one must decide to leave it there and follow Jesus Christ. (Psalm 32:1-5) Discipline will allow you to continue walking in faithfulness and truth until this world has nothing for you!
Job 5:17 (NLT)
“But consider the joy of those corrected by God! Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin.”
Refinement is a process of discipline. Testing and trials allow our faith to be tested as God eliminates the distractions and details in our life that do not agree with His Word, Will and Way. Such times are tough and require endurance to remain faithful to the end. (Romans 5:3-4) There is joy in discipline. As God corrects you, He aligns you with His Will which allows access to every promise and blessing that His Favor has determined is yours to keep. Suddenly, prosperity comes without burden or debt as God rewards His Children for their ability to remain consistently righteous and obedient. You are living a life that is in agreement with the Lord and no longer contradictory. Job was going through some tough times when his friend, Eliphaz tried to offer some encouragement. In Job 5:17-27, Eliphaz details the many blessings found in times of refinement brought on by God’s Discipline which is guidance and instruction with unrelenting truth. The Lord will be your Healer, Rescuer, Savior, Refuge, Provider, and Peacekeeper. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain as you faithfully follow Jesus Christ even in the flames and fire of refinement. You will have long life and Eternal life.
Isaiah 38:16-17 (NLT)
Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! Yes, this anguish was good for me, for you have rescued me from death and forgiven all my sins.
God’s Ultimate Purpose is your salvation and Eternal security. Everything else is secondary including comfort as God leads you to the good life that He has promised. If you want God’s Purpose and to be a Child of the Living God – then you must remain on task!
Proverbs 12:1 (NLT) To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.
Not to hurt anyone’s feelings, but if you think that salvation and grace are free and that you can live anyway that you choose and still enter God’s Kingdom and have His Very Best, the Word of God says that’s stupid. Grace is not an excuse to remain unfaithful, disobedient and do things your own way. If you bump into someone, you might say, “Excuse me” or “Pardon me” because it was an accident or perhaps you just were not paying attention. But to continue to run into the same person over and over again requires an apology because now it is no longer by accident but intentional. So is sin after you are saved. Salvation is one’s enlightenment to the offense of sin and repentance is a commitment to turn from that sin and no longer live offending God. Too many people thing grace is an exemption from the penalty of sin but do not attempt to quit sinning just keep on keeping on in the name of this thing called Grace! God is offended by our sin. Every single one of them and He sees our heart so there is no need to open one’s mouth in objection. Those things that you know to be sinful yet continue to do continue to separate you from the Lord and will hinder your purpose in life.
Proverbs 13:24 (NLT)
Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.
Parents who choose not to discipline their children do not love them. Your ideas concerning proper punishment for disobedience is between you and the Lord, but if you do not discipline your children then you do not love them. (Ephesians 6:4) Punishment is a penalty for disobedience but discipline teaches us to walk in obedience. The “rod” represents guidance. It keeps one from trouble through instruction and leadership. We love our kids so we make the commitment to train them in a way that will be successful people. So if we love our own children enough to teach them good things, how much more does the Father love us? (Matthew 7:11) It is because God loves us so very much that He does not want us to settle for less than His Very Best and will discipline us to keep us from it.
Hebrews 12:7-11 (NLT)
As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
God’s Discipline is evidence that we are His Children. Only Children of God will make it into Heaven! He will not allow illegitimate children to enter its gates. His Discipline is good for us as it guides us to His Purpose and all of His Promises so we will prosper. However, it is uncomfortable because it is opposite of our flesh and desires many times causing conflict within. His Word empowers us to quite the argument and it defeats the enemy in revealing his lies. God’s Way is enlightened by His Word. (Proverbs 6:20-23) When you walk in the Light, you are less like to stumble, fall or wander off because you can see the steps clearly. God’s Word keeps us on task as it stirs up our Spirit. (Psalm 119:66-68) Now we are able to walk by faith and not by sight because God’s guiding us, teaching us and leading us to His Very Best! (Proverbs 10:17) We must learn to endure divine discipline. Such discernment is revealed when God’s Word meets His Spirit and a believer begins to walk in Truth leaving sin behind them. His Word strengthens our Spirit and defeats the flesh as faith builds a foundation of confident hope that keeps us firmly planted in His Will and His Way. Now we are disciples as we remain on task walking in righteousness and obedience in the midst of His Grace.
2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NLT)
This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
The Holy Spirit enables us to experience God’s Power, Love and Self-Discipline. You can remain on task avoiding sin and walking away from evil. You do not have the spirit of fear because God did not give it to you. The only reason you had to fear God was your sin. The Blood of Jesus Christ paid the penalty of your sin so by His Grace we will not be punished for it. So now, we must learn to secure the freedom of our salvation and live by His Spirit. No longer bound to sin, we must remain free from it by learning the Truth of God’s Word and applying it to every aspect of our life. Sin has no place in the life of God’s Disciple so we must make a conscientious effort to remain free of it by the Power of God’s Love and Self-Discipline. Experiencing a little attention deficit with the Lord today? Call your flesh back into submission. Are you shadowboxing? Do you lack self-discipline? Are you after God’s Very Best, His Prize? Then it is time to live like one who is running the race to win! Cast off the weight that holds you back primarily sin. Run to win! Out of breath! Breathe in His Spirit “take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.” (Hebrews 12:12-13) Keep going because the best is yet to come if you choose to stay on task!
Revelation 3:19-20 (NLT)
“I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”