I need to be disciplined. The world around us is forming habits in our lives – and not necessarily good ones. As Christians, we are constantly fighting the battle. We face challenges that come in all shapes and sizes, but it is essential to identify and seek to overcome these challenges. We must constantly make strides in developing disciplines in our lives that will help us better battle the challenges that seek to divert our course.
We can talk about some of the major challenges, such as addictions, illnesses, and death, but instead, let’s talk a bit about some of the seemingly more minor challenges we face daily. The major challenges are easy to see, but we tend to gloss over the more minor ones we face daily. A few examples of these daily challenges might include cursing under our breath while driving because someone wasn’t driving fast enough, or once again did something illegal, or maybe work has been particularly stressful, and so we lashed out at our spouse before leaving the house, or maybe we lost our temper or yelled at our kids undeservingly, or perhaps we just needed to “vent” to a coworker about something that irritated us or engaged in office gossip, or maybe we overextended ourself financially when we bought something we knew we couldn’t afford and our debt is out of control?
Now, maybe you believe none of these examples apply to you, but if we are 100% honest with ourselves, we understand that we ALL fall short – just in different ways. What’s important is acknowledging our failures, confessing them to God, and asking for His forgiveness. Then, we need to develop the disciplines that will help us to quickly recognize these challenges, keep our eyes on God, and become the person God intends us to be.
Hebrews 12:11 talks of discipline: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Our minds and bodies will challenge us. We will have arguments with ourselves. My body wants to sleep, but I need to get up. My body wants to eat, but I have eaten enough. My body wants to stop exercising, but I know I may never start up again if I stop. My body lusts for intimacy, but I know these women I lust over are God’s children and deserve the proper respect – regardless of how they act or dress. My body wants to buy that new car or new clothes, but I know I should save for the unknown storms that lie ahead. My body wants to stay home from church, but I know I must commune with my fellow believers. My body resists the efforts to pray and read the Bible, but I most certainly cannot afford to lose THIS battle.
I believe an old saying sums it up nicely: “Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny for yourself, your family, your church, and your world.”
When you stumble – and you will – keep your eyes on Jesus. Ask God for grace. Ask God for the perseverance to overcome the challenges you are facing right now. Ask God for clarity as you continue your pursuit. Ask God to lift you up when the weight becomes unbearable.
Samuel Becket said, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.“
If you feel lost, start with one essential habit – reading your Bible – and slowly work on this day by day. It means taking 30 minutes each day to spend time in God’s Word. Then, over time, it will become a habit – something you don’t have to think about doing because it has become a part of who you are.
If I am going to be a light for God, I need a renewal of my spirit, mind, and soul. Sometimes, I may feel far from God, but I must never give up the desire and discipline to seek Him above all other things.