Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:25-27)
This is our final day of preparation. I hope you have completed your review of the background information on the 40 Days of Discipline website (www.40daysofdiscipline.com). We will start with the Discipline of Bible Study next week. I know that God has something special in store for us.
For many of us, being really disciplined about anything healthy is a struggle. In the passage above, Paul comes across as a pretty determined and disciplined individual. Please pause and talk to God about where you are in the matter of discipline. I would encourage you to give Him thanks for the strength He already provides, and be specific in any request you make for help.
There is, of course, nothing magical about the 40 days journey. If you miss a day, just catch back up. This journey should not include a guilt trip. That being said, I hope you will partner with God to show the kind of resolve demonstrated by Paul. One way to demonstrate this resolve is to schedule specific time in your calendar for the 40 Days of Discipline journey.
Today’s Questions for comments:
- What are your thoughts on mixing Disciplines and Love?
- Do you find the practice of the Disciplines liberating or restricting?
Please share your thoughts if you feel led and read the comments left by others.
Talk to you on Monday.
February 21, 2015 at 6:39 am
Re the second question, to me the practice of the Disciplines is both liberating and restricting, though normally in the reverse order. To practice them I need to beat my flesh into submission (“I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave”) because otherwise, alas, I tend ‘not to do what I want to do’ (Rom 7:15). Thereafter, the reward is liberating, because true communion with Him always is, maybe not always in the moment, but always in the long run. Coming into His presence is to come into the light of the truth, and the truth is what sets us free (John 8:32). Now, the challenge remains of taking that head knowledge to heart, and leveraging it to drive my behaviour and my choice to restrict my flesh in order to liberate my mind and my soul – a never ending cycle in my experience. I scream with Paul! Will you read Romans 7 with me?
February 21, 2015 at 10:53 pm
Lester just as you said, Paul does a superb job in Romans 7 of encapsulating the “challenge”. I am so glad that there is this phrase in the last verse of the chapter: “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
February 22, 2015 at 3:38 am
Amen Norman! And hallelujah!!
February 21, 2015 at 10:28 am
Discipline can de defined as activity, exercise or a regimen that develops or improves a skill. I see these disciplines as improving, developing, growing my relationship with God, the ultimate experience of love and from which flows love to my neighbors. (Mark 12:29-31) I liken the practice of disciplines to an amusement park with crazy rides. The rides are deemed safe albeit look really scary, some more than others, but they promise thrill and excitement that you can only experience when you are actually on it. It is our choice to stand and watch the ride and the experiences others have or to get on and try it for ourselves. Yes, it is in a restriced way, time and place but it liberates us to have an experience that out of this world, literally! 🙂
February 21, 2015 at 1:33 pm
At first I did not understand the first question — but I think I get it. Jesus taught about mixing discipline with love, for example in Luke 13: 12-16. In fact Jesus warned about ‘religiosity’ – legalisms and rituals – and therefore for the Disciplines not to be merely ‘works of vanity’ – it must be done in Love. Love must be in, out, around, above and below the Disciplines. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8 NIV)
The practice of the Disciplines is both liberating and restricting. Restricting because my feelings do not always cooperate. I do not always feel like attending church or I might devote hours to mindless internet browsing when in the back of mind I want to read scriptiure. Therefore it takes an act of will when my feelings do not cooperate to bring my actions in line with what I need to do for my own spiritual growth. Therefore the restiction comes from foregoing my feelings. The liberation comes from among other things the never ending joy i get to tap into — sometimes it bursts forth like the daylight and with such overwhelming measure — really I just want to love someone.
February 22, 2015 at 4:36 am
Discipline and Love go hand and hand. If there’s no love in discipline then the outcome will not be satisfying as the action is just motivated by fear. If you are motivated by Love, the result will be more fulfilling, it gives assurance and contentment. It is always encouraging to know that you are doing everything for the Lord who loves you unconditionally and saved you from the bondage of sin, and so this also answers the next question , to me the practice of disciplines are both liberating and restricting. Liberating in the sense that we were freed from the bondage of sin as Lester Bayne quoted from John 8:32 – “truth sets us free” as believers we are no longer slave to sin and there is God’s grace that allows us to have right relationship with our redeemer, Jesus Christ who never condemns us but wants us to be in right relationship with him. To some extent, it is also restricting, but I must say it’s a ”healthy kind of restrictions’ because if there’s no limit or restrictions, we will tend to lose our balanced and that will block the growth that we are supposed to acquire from the practice of disciplines.