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A Disciplined Life

I recently came back from Hawaii celebrating my mom’s 70th birthday. Per the usual I realized it has been some time since I have written. I always just think ‘wasn’t that just last week I wrote’ only to discover my last week was four months ago. I am noticing this is a theme, a terrible theme, not just in my writing but other areas of life that I must work on. Why? Because of the inestimable value of a disciplined life. Pause and consider what it means to be disciplined. If you’re wincing now at just the word you can be certain your perspective needs to change. Discipline is valuable because God said it is. Consider the following passages:


“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, But he who hates reproof is senseless” (Prov. 12:1).

“But I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27).

“Be of sober spirit, be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in the faith…” (1 Peter 5:8-9).

“Therefore, having girded your minds for action, being sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, not being conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your conduct; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY” (1 Peter 1:13-16).

“The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound thinking and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because LOVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SINS” (1 Peter 4:7-8)


To be of sober spirit, sober minded is to have a disciplined mind, a disciplined life. Discipline means training. Are you training your mind, actions, attitudes, emotions, feelings in light of the world or in light of the Gospel, Christ, His Word? John MacArthur states regarding 1 Peter 1:13 “Spiritual sober mindedness includes the idea of steadfastness, self-control, clarity of mind, and moral decisiveness. The sober Christian is correctly in charge of his priorities and not intoxicated with the various allurements of the world.” Regarding 1 Peter 4:7 he states “To be self-controlled and sober-minded implies here not to be swept away by emotions or passions, thus maintaining a proper eternal perspective on life.”


We must discipline our lives in light of Scripture. The opposite of discipline is disorder, unruly, riotous, uncontrolled. If it sounds like I am describing our culture you’re not wrong. We are in disarray not simply because we lack discipline but because operating in and of ourselves we are undisciplined. Paul said “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh…” (Luke 7:18). Without Christ there is no true discipline. It is Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit working within me who change me from the inside out. It is the fruit of the Spirit that produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal. 5:22-24). Did you catch that? The fruit of the Spirit not the fruit of Hannah.


What fruits are you displaying? Are your actions, emotions, feelings, pursuits in line with a disciplined life or an undisciplined life? I can tell you I am not always disciplined and not always displaying Christlike fruit, but even in my failings I am free in Christ and am now in training to become more like Him. I must train, I must discipline my mind because I know my flesh and the Spirit are at war as Scripture tells me (Gal. 5:17) and my actions and attitudes reveal it rather clearly. I long for His return to be fully set free from the flesh, but as I wait, I train through His Word and the power of the Holy Spirit that I may grow in discipline.


My friends, a disciplined life in Christ is worth pursuing and living for. May you consider this day the areas of discipline you need to grow in whether in your speech, home, work, physical health, spiritual life. Remember, as a patient told me this last week “small compromises lead to big failures.” Do not compromise on the little things, be disciplined in all areas of your life. There is no area of our lives that should not be under the discipline of Scripture.  If you are in Christ, then pursue walking by the Spirit (see Gal. 5). If you are not in Christ, then repent and believe this day so you can begin fighting the battle of the flesh, this world, and Satan with weapons that actually win - God’s Word, the Holy Spirit, Christ Himself (Eph. 6:10-18).


Funny enough I had no intentions of writing any of this. I sat down to write something completely different and yet now here we are. I believe personal convictions I needed desperately to recall myself and start anew.


I will end with this, Thomas Brooks said “Oh my friends, love the Lord Jesus above your lusts, love Him above your relations, love Him above the world, love Him above all your outward contentments and enjoyments; yes, love Him above your very lives.” Nothing in this world satisfies like Christ Himself. Psalm 73:28 says “But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have set Lord Yahweh as my refuge, That I may recount all Your works.” The nearness of God is our greatest good. In Him is fullness of life, peace that surpasses all understanding, joy unimaginable, living hope, and a future free of sin with Him forever. Charles Spurgeon said “Blessed be God, our calamities are matters of time, but our safety is a matter of eternity.” May you pursue a disciplined life for the sake of Christ, for the One who bled and died for you, for the One who holds you fast now and for eternity.


WALK BY THE SPIRIT

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you do not do the things that you want.

18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.

19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,

20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions,

21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk in step with the Spirit.

26 Let us not become those with vain glory, challenging one another, envying one another.

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