Archives For Discipline

Disciplining yourself to do what you know is the right thing to do, at the right time, is a key to a flourishing relationship with God. How many times have you been tempted to do the wrong thing and, ignoring the warning bells going off inside, you give into the temptation? Every time we find ourselves at a decision point, we must ask ourselves how Jesus would decide in such a moment.

disciplining yourself,self-discipline,self discipline,discipline,discipleship,disciple,commitment,priorities,God's character,character of God,selfishness,me first,Jesus first,God first,prayer,habit,habits,disciplines

image © Monet via Fotolia

When faced with a moral decision, the spirit of Christ within us informs us which way we should go. The problem is, the choice we know to be consistent with the character of Christ is often the more difficult path to walk. A narrow path is always more problematic to traverse than a wider one.

Disciplining yourself in the smaller choices of life builds your discipline muscle. When you get lazy in the little things, you stand no chance when facing the bigger issues coming your way. For example, we know we should put God first in all things, but how many of us live this out? How often do we wake in the morning, late again, only to rush out of the house without giving hardly a thought to Jesus? Or how many of us take the first portion of our paycheck and give it away to those in need before we pay our own bills? This is nothing but lip-service commitment, and the reason we fail is because we haven’t built the disciplines that will cause our life to reflect our convictions.

If we want to draw closer to God, we’re going to need to live lives that look more like His. If we don’t know Him, how can we expect to live a life worthy of Him? We’re going to need to get close, and achieving this requires establishing some disciplines in our lives which will reflect His character and priorities. Every habit, good or bad, will dictate the course of your life. Let me show you how this plays out in my own life.

When I neglect the habit of beginning my day in prayer, I tend to also disregard my workout routine. When I don’t exercise, I tend not to eat as healthy. When I don’t eat well, I have less patience with others, and less critical thinking skills to deal with what comes my way. When I have a dreadful day, I tend to continue not eating so well when I get home, which means I don’t sleep well. If I don’t sleep well, what do you suppose the odds are I’m going to get up early the next morning to pray? And the cycle begins again…

All of this could have been avoided simply by disciplining myself to begin my day in prayer. It’s a simple and easy thing to do. But we must never forget, what is easy to do is also easy not to do. Disciplining yourself is both easy and difficult. It is easy in that anyone can do it; no exceptional skills are required. It is difficult because it will require you to put Jesus first, and yourself second (or perhaps third or fourth). Most aren’t willing to do this; they would rather enjoy life now and hope for the best later. Disciples of Jesus are a different breed. We are willing to sacrifice short-lived enjoyment in exchange for an eternity with our Creator. Are you willing to begin disciplining yourself, or will you be content with the way things are? Your decision will dictate your future.

In his book, “The End of Religion”, Pastor Bruxy Cavey writes, “If Jesus is God coming to us, and becoming one of us, then religion is redundant. Religion uses rules to force our steps, guilt to keep us in line, and rituals to remind us of our failure to live up to those rules. In doing this, religion adds more weight to those who are already burdened with life’s hardships.”

we don't need religion,Matthew 23:33,brood of vipers,Matthew 23:25,hypocrites,Matthew 23:27,white washed tombs,spiritual disciplines,read the Bible,discipline,religion,bruxey cavey,the meeting house,greg boyd,myth of religion,end of religion

image © Allen Penton via Fotolia

But Jesus said his burden was easy and light (Matthew 11:30). He didn’t come to add a bunch of rules to our lives. He came to simplify what man had overcomplicated. Jesus came to show we don’t need religion; all we need is God.

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

What’s the first thing you do when you awaken each morning? While I can’t admit to owning this ritual, I think the first thing we should do is thank God for the security and rest of the previous night and then ask Him how we can be used to build His Kingdom today. One reason we don’t live more powerful Kingdom lives is because we don’t begin our days with the intention of doing so.

daily discipline,discipline,commitment,calling,mission,Kingdom of God,God's Kingdom,God's character,habits,focus,perspective,checkbox Christians

image © rosn123 via Fotolia

We have no plan, yet we expect God to do great things in our lives. If we aren’t positioning our minds, attitude, and heart towards Him, how can we expect Him to be able to effectively use us?

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

I was recently wondering what it would look like if I reoriented my life around the rhythms of the calendar. If you’re anything like me, you don’t take much time to celebrate or even breathe. In the Old Testament, God gave His people festivals and Sabbaths to observe. I don’t believe God does anything on a whim or without purpose, so I know He had a reason for these events. Could it be, as our Creator, He understood we need these times to refocus and re-center?

reorienting your life,reorient,calendar,holidays,Christmas,Thanksgiving,Easter,independence day,labor day,memorial day,life rhythms,priorities,purpose,discipline

image © Kwangmoo via Fotolia

Working with this knowledge, it makes sense to orient our lives today around similar rhythms. I’m not advocating we observe each of the Jewish holiday’s if you aren’t Jewish. They won’t have the same beauty or effect without being immersed in the tradition and history. But we can all build an effective and even joyful cadence for our lives based on the calendar of our own culture.

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

Complacency is a killer disease for would-be disciples. As soon as you think you are in a great place with your disciplines and in your relationship with God, you are in trouble. Unfortunately, I have learned this (more than once) the hard way. Each time I think I’ve grown so close to Christ I could never fall away, I’ve quickly found myself spiraling downward. It’s not as if you wake up one day and decide to walk the opposite direction.

complacency,dilligence,re;ecntless,commitment,disciplines,discipline,habits,spiritual disciplines,spiritual habits,distractions,priorities,disciple,discipleship

image © Alex F via Fotolia

It always happens subtlety and slowly. You won’t even recognize it’s happening. You skip your morning prayer time, “just today”, because of something else going on in your life. Then you find yourself putting your needs ahead of others. The next morning you skip prayer time again. And so, the spiral begins…

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

Becoming a disciple of Jesus can seem like a lot of work, but upon closer examination, we see work has little to do with it. Instead, following Jesus as a true disciple is about doing just a few things well. As I’ve continued my journey to discipleship, I’ve come to realize there are three keys to spiritual success. Craig Groeschel summed these up well in his latest book, “Divine Direction”.

three keys to spiritual success,divine direction,craig groeschel,commitment,dicipleship,God's will,faith,faithfulness,mundane,habits,discipline,discipleship,love,God's character,humility,goals

image © B-C-designs via Fotolia

He wrote, “It’s the faithfulness to do mundane things well, develop productive habits, and to remain faithful that eventually leads to success.” These are three simple concepts, all of which have the potential to unleash incredible results in our quest to live a more Christ-like life.

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

There is no quicker path to destruction than to take your eyes off Jesus. Let your focus waver for even a minute and you will be heading down a path you never intended and have no interest in following. It’s troubling how we can spend hours on our knees with God, and seconds later lose our focus and find ourselves in a dark place. It comes down to discipline, but focus is taxing of our energy, so we often tire and give up.

where is your focus,focus,purpose,discipline,works,John 16:33,in this life you will have trouble,Ephesians 2:10,created for good works

image © kentoh via Fotolia

Still, if we are serious about living a life worthy of Christ, we’ve got to get better at keeping our focus on Him. One slip can cause years of damage. As you approach this day, this hour, this moment, let me ask you: “Where is your focus?”

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

There is a time thief lurking in all of our lives. Time is our most precious asset. You cannot acquire more than you’ve been given. We each have a finite amount that dwindles by the second. When it’s gone, it’s gone. Yet so many of us treat time as if there is a never ending supply. We spend our time foolishly on the nonsensical and irrelevant.

time thierf,priorities,mission,discipline,time suck,purpose,commitment,Matthew 28:18-20,great commission,Ephesians 5:16,reedeeming the time,reedeem the time

image © beebright via Fotolia

What if we spent our money the same way we spent our time? It would be the equivalent of throwing cash out the window every second of our day. If we are not intentional about our time, a time thief will steal away what God has entrusted to us. We all have a time thief; what’s yours?

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

We humans ascribe an inordinate amount of focus and power to dates. We put off big life changes until a Monday so as to have a “fresh start”. We set goals and resolutions at the beginning of the year almost exclusively.  Perhaps worst of all, when a week, month, or year is coming to a close, we tend to put it in neutral and just coast until the next big marker of time.  December is a month rife with coasting. Most are so caught up in gift-giving and home decorating that little time is left for anything else.

finishing well,new year's resolution,goals,mission,sticktoitivness,priorities,commitment,Bob Buford,Ken Blanchard

image © shashamaru via Fotolia

It becomes easy to lose focus and take your eyes off the things that really matter. Unfortunately, our spiritual life and goals tend to follow the same fate. Instead of finishing well the work God gave us to do this year, there is a tendency to end with a whimper instead of a bang.

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

We all have triggers that prompt sinful behaviors. If we learn to recognize the triggers, we will begin to overcome the most problematic sins in our lives. Satan does two things really well. He lies, and he manipulates.  When it comes to his attacks on us, all of them can be traced back to one of those two strategies.

triggers,marshall goldsmith,Matthew 4:1-11,temptation of Christ,Jesus in the wilderness,Matthew 26:36-46,garden of Gethsemane,Luke 22:39-46,sweating blood,temptation,sin,prayer,kingdom of God,God's Kingdom,prayer

image © ArenaCreative via Fotolia

Either he’s trying to get you to believe something untrue, or he’ll try and get you to do something against the will of God. Understanding the simplicity of the enemy’s attacks should help us formulate strategies to resist him. But unless we recognize the triggers in our own lives, we will struggle defeating the schemes of the devil.

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…