For the past 60 days I have been working hard on losing weight to become a healthier person and pastor. This has meant consuming large amounts of water daily, watching closely what I eat and saying NO to a lot of foods that I would have consumed in the past. It has meant making sure I try to exercise as often as I can and even prioritize the time. Most of this I have had success in…some of it not so much. Exercising consistently has at times been elusive and I really should go to bed early at night to get proper sleep. What I have noticed is that alongside the loss of weight and inches I have become more disciplined in other areas and developing a desire to be more so. My thought life has changed so that I reflect on different topics throughout the day. Where I used to dream about what I was going to eat now I think about what I should eat and how much water I need to drink — my body craves water now. I have purchased a journal to map the spiritual journey I and our church is on and never before have I had the discipline to journal. I purposely go for walks instead of watching more TV.
What has really become clear to me is how God has designed our bodies to be intricately entwined with all of its aspects. Lack of self-control in one area often leads to lack of self-control in other areas. Likewise, as we develop discipline it’s benefits spread to other areas. But it cannot be about determination alone. In fact, when confronted with all the “goodies” of the past my determination can falter but the Lord never does. Discipline is a request that needs to be brought before the Lord daily, hourly and sometimes moment by moment if it is ever going to take root and bear fruit. No wonder Jesus went off by himself early in the morning to spend time with his Father. He needed to remain connected with the one who gave him love and guidance in ministering to people throughout the rest of the day. To get up early must have been a discipline and after hard days of pouring yourself out for others I wonder if Jesus was ever tempted to give in and just sleep in. OR, what I believe is more likely, he understood the massive benefits meeting with the Father brought to his life and ministry. Nothing could replace what that personal discipline brought. What might you be needing to change in your life in order to bring some aspect back into order? Is there an area(s) that you know if only you could get under control you would experience God in a deeper way or more fruit in your life would be brought forth? God can help you….in fact, God want’s to help you because when you bear fruit you bring honor and glory to him while you grow closer to him in your reliance and affection.
Discipline – a hated word in our society today – can bear much fruit not only in the one area you wish would be different but in other areas you never even considered. Blessings on you as you look to God to give you strength and courage to move forward!