THE WALK OF DISCIPLINE
Summer is here and I realize that everyone is busy. It seems there is so much to do and we are hot and tired. Having so much to think about is exhausting and a time to beware of emotions that can create a negative attitude. To say the least, these feelings of “blah” can influence our spiritual lives. Now is not the time to allow our spiritual flame to die down or our edge to become dull. I believe this is a unique hour in the history of humanity and when I talk about being prepared, I am saying it is CRUCIAL to buy oil NOW so that we will not be like the unwise virgins. The remnant that made the conscious decision to be “FILLED” with the Holy Spirit was ready and was allowed entrance into the presence of Christ. Those who did not take the initiative to “walk” in God’s divine reality tried to “catch up” at the last minute but did not have time to develop an intimate relationship. Today is a window of time that we must guard our mind so that we will not be swept away with Satan’s flood of deception. The devil wants us to stop reading God’s Word and to stop spending meditation time alone with the Lord. The dark kingdom loves it when we spend our evenings watching television instead of praying and studying. Yes, we are being bombarded from all sides with sin and the aggressive violence of hatred for God but we must maintain our courage. How can we stand for God’s truth if we are weak, uninformed, lethargic, unprepared and afraid? To say the least, it is OUR TIME with God that will pay huge spiritual dividends. Today is the day to press in, to move forward and advance toward His light. We are to be maturing and growing stronger NOT going backward into discouragement. WE are to be the hands and feet for Jesus but how can we help His Kingdom if we are depressed and not interested? Let us remain focused and alert to His direction.
I know that we are not to live in condemnation and it is miserable to walk in the shadow of a guilty conscience. Please allow me to speak honestly about betrayal, compromise, denial and the personal pain of living a carnal existence of mediocrity. Many including myself have collected knowledge through the years and have learned at least something about right and wrong. Those who are interested in seeking spiritual truth love to “collect” more wisdom like some people hoard antiques but that is not necessarily accomplishing anything. The most effective vision would be to pray for the DESIRE of discipline so that “truth” can be “incorporated” into our character. When are we going to “live” our knowledge? There is the HUGE difference between being a walking seminary – and a live demonstration. Moreover, there are many who KNOW what everyone else should do but FAIL to walk what he or she understands. Selah. I know this is hard and not really exciting but sometimes we need to hear it. Let us go on. I know I stumble all the time, I make wrong decisions and I do not always reflect the character of Christ. I know right from wrong and I can perceive truth and even communicate it, but nevertheless I feel that I am failing to walk the walk. I realize I have high expectations of what I believe are God’s vision for me (and the body of Christ) to live but at the same time, I am NOT where I should be. I will not make excuses for my carnality but on top of my personal problems, I do feel the intensity of resistance from evil. Even the news is saturated with discouragement and seems to have every intention of draining the very life from us. It is true there are dark clouds of “concern” on the horizon with everything from the economy collapsing and the one world government to the mark of the beast. Am I worried? Of course I am! However, I also believe that if I will heed God’s warnings and embrace His wisdom that I will be given the opportunity to develop the discipline that I will need to be prepared. I feel the pressure from the enemy is being increased against anyone that desires to press toward the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus. The devil hates us and he hates it when we start talking about being disciplined in the Lord! It seems as though I am being attacked from every side – even in my sleep! Do you feel that way? I want to live for God and please Him but lately it has been like climbing a steep cliff. It is HARD to get it all together and feel enthused about your progress. Even my weight has become a serious issue because I do not like the way I look or the way I feel. I need a booster shot of discipline to stop eating all the wrong foods. A man of my age should realize that I cannot eat like I did when I was twenty years old. Nevertheless, the more I think about changing my life, the more I am tempted and with delicious, mouth-watering delicacies. I am convinced that no one will change anything until the agony of staying the same becomes greater than the painful cost of changing. We can complain and cry about our situations but until we become nauseated about the way we are – we will not incorporate the discipline that is needed to become victorious. Selah.
Are we bored with preaching and teaching? Those of us that have been involved with the religious environment for years believe that pretty much we have heard most everything about the bible. No matter what the subject we feel confident that we know about it and that most of what we hear now is just repetitions and cycles of previously heard commentaries. As we read and study about a particular genre, our brain has a tendency to evaluate what others say, which comes complete with our own set of personal opinions, criticisms, judgments and arguments. What does this have to do with discipline? There is a danger to developing numbness to the abundance of spiritual teaching. We go through our email messages and delete biblical insights that we say we do not have time to read. I have a large library of biblical treasures and I seldom even pull one from the shelf. I receive numerous magazines and newsletters but usually scan them at the most. I have sat in my office many times and nodded out reading about the glorious splendor of God’s love and provision. Why? Am I tired of hearing about the cross of Christ? Am I turned off with the subject of discipline because I am not interested in suffering? Has the world’s pleasures spoiled us so bad that we have become fat and lazy? Have we traded our swords and shields for the false security of materialism? If there was ever a time when the body of Christ needed to drink freely from the fountain of God’s mercy and be transformed into the image of Jesus it is NOW. Let us not yawn at spiritual truth but rather be excited and count it a privilege that we can still receive His Word without persecution. There may be coming a time in the near future where there will be a famine of God’s Word. The Lord is giving us His Word NOW to help prepare us and build our FAITH for the time of tribulation. Amen!
Sin should always be recognized and treated as the enemy of our soul and when “secret deals” are made between our flesh and the devil it is never in our best interest. I have noticed in my life and in human behavior in general, the cravings of the flesh dominate this world. Yes, humans are very emotional and have a “wiring” system that is controlled by carnal pleasure. Now brother, Christians have overcome the flesh and are not prone to being led with their flesh aren’t they? Well, I know what God desires from His children but sadly, I am convinced that most people who consider themselves religious have NO intention to discipline their mind and harness their carnality. This “deal” that I mentioned is the compromise of receiving a new “home” from Father God but decorating it completely in our own style. The home represents our new spirit, our new agreement or covenant that guarantees temporal blessings and eternal security. The “style” is moving in all of our OLD thoughts, ways, actions, attitudes, opinions, habits and merging them with our new promises. In this light, we become deceived into thinking that we can have the best of both worlds. Like a brand new ship where we are still the captain or inheriting a manufacturing plant and we are the CEO that decides what is produced, how much volume and at what cost. This is NOT the revelation of spiritual discipline and is NOT Christianity.
Discipline is a word that is commonly used whenever there is a need for REAL change. It is not a very likeable word unless you are very serious about accomplishing something important. It is a popular word like “love” or “prayer” but also a hated and avoided word because it always accompanies other words like sacrifice and pain. It is closely related to determination in that nothing usually happens unless there is a vision so strong that someone actually becomes “possessed” with seeing it through. Multitudes can draw blueprints, hold seminars, write books and even dream about accomplishing goals but it is nothing without discipline. No destiny will ever be realized, no destination will be reached with only talk and hope. Discipline must become the legs of our faith so that God can breathe His miracle power into our calling. Selah. Our flesh desires to not only do what WE want to do – but to accomplish it as painless and easy as we can. Again, this is NOT being led by God and is always out in “left field” when it comes to living in His Divine Reality.
“Father we cry out, Oh God for your mercy. We are struggling to stay steady in a world that is reeling and groaning under the weight of depravity and abominations. Give us the desire to want MORE of you. Please, blow on the embers of our heart that we might become a flame for your glory. Shake us and wake us from our slumber. Open the eyes of our heart that we might be able to KNOW you and your perfect will. Break our hearts and reveal to us our sin. Tear down our idols and anything that is keeping us from you. Please convict us when our love waxes cold and we judge others through the eyes of prejudice. Allow us to know the revelation of Jesus and the cross that we been called to carry. May we abandon our carnality and embrace the faith that moves mountains. I know that most of this will depend on how much we want you and I simply ask you this day to help enhance our awareness, sensitivity, holiness and discipline. In Jesus Name, amen.”