The Discipline Problem

O LORD, I know that the way humans act is not under their control. Humans do not direct their steps as they walk.
So correct me, LORD, but please be gentle. Do not correct me in anger, for I would die. Jeremiah 10:23-24

So today I was reading my devotions from Draw the Circle. I have read this book several times over while doing a prayer challenge. Yet, this is the first time that I actually journaled through while reading. It is like that phenomenon of watching a movie you have seen many times — seeing something new each time. I knew during this prayer challenge I really needed to get a word from God and I did not want to miss what God may be saying by just going through the motions to get the reading done. So this time, two portions stood out to me, specifically how praying can become a form of procrastination and we then neglect the responsibility to act. The second part acknowledged how we get out of our place and try to convict others of their sin versus allowing the Holy Spirit to do that. How these two related is that we sometimes pray and don’t do our parts and ignorantly expect God to act for us. We get stuck in praying and we do not see (or choose to not see) what we can already do. What just dropped in my spirit is that we may perceive this to be an unanswered prayer. Sometimes we or what we can do are the answers to our prayers.

This spoke to me in how I have been praying for God to heal my thoughts, mind, attitudes, intellect, memories, and emotions. God reminded me of how I was very disciplined in things in the past but pride came in or life and I stopped doing certain things. Discipline is vital to our walk as believers. It takes discipline to get up early in the morning and pray. It takes discipline to eat right. It takes discipline to abstain from certain environments and behaviors. It takes discipline to be on time. So today, God culminated this lesson by showing me I need to work on the area of discipline.

I have a lot of things I want. I want to get back to working out regularly. I want to wake up earlier so I can spend more time with my son before we need to go to bed (getting up earlier > going to work earlier > getting off earlier > getting home earlier). I want to finish the courses I have signed up for to continue advancing in my career. I want to save money and position myself to make strategic investments so I can retire and live how I want. I also want to live a disciplined life so that I can instill that in my son.

Something I realized is that I have failed a lot in the area of discipline both recently and in the past because I tried to do things in my own strength. While willpower can empower you to get through things for an extended period of time, God is the only person that can empower you to continually succeed. So today, I have prayed that God would correct me in this area so that I can reap the fruit of discipline in every area of my life. First to note, everyone may not support your desire to live a disciplined life. For those people, you have to obey God and be willing to release any relationship that will not encourage that. Next, you should appreciate those that do support your desire for being disciplined. Important here, ask God to give you an accountability partner for this, and possibly accountability partners for every area because perhaps one person will not cover all areas you are working on. Lastly and most important of all, make sure you are keeping in communication with God so that He can refine and tune your course. Discipline will benefit you greatly in every area, but most of all in the area of your spiritual growth and maturity.

Like the scriptures above say, I pray that God would be gentle in disciplining you as you realize that it is God that needs to plan your way and direct your steps. May God show you today the areas of your life that need discipline.

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