“For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.”
– Colossians 2:5
Let’s not quit praying this last week just as passionately as we did the first week. God has big things in store, and days 21-25 will prove it. This week is all about self-discipline, why it matters, and what it produces.
There are two types of discipline. The first type is God’s way of correcting us when we get off track, like when we discipline our kids when they disobey. He corrects us because He loves us and wants the best for us, not because he is angry with us. The second type of discipline is SELF-discipline, a gift of the Holy Spirit that gives us the ability to make good choices and create healthy patterns that lead to godly living.
Some people wonder what the first type of discipline looks like. For example– if we are not living a godly life but continue to lead in our church, God made allow the leadership of the church to remove you from your position. You may feel it is an “attack from the enemy,” but it is actually God disciplining you. God’s discipline is not punishment (Christ already took your punishment upon Himself at the cross), nor is His discipline intended to inflict pain. It is for our good that He steps in and redirects our course.
1.) Read Hebrews 12:5-11 and Galatians 5:22-23. What do these verses say about discipline and self-control (self-discipline)? How have you believed incorrectly concerning either of these?
2.) Look back over the past five weeks. What patterns emerged in your life that drew you away from God? When did you find yourself struggling to make the right choice? Has there been a time you felt you were being attacked by the enemy that God is now revealing was His gentle discipline? Sit and really reflect on these questions and let the Holy Spirit speak to you.
3.) Journal about the areas in which you are disciplined (guess what? Praying at 5am is one of them!). What makes those areas successful? How do you stay disciplined even when it gets tough? Ask God how He can keep you on track, even in hard times.