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Seeds of the Kingdom

Discipline

by Jill Southern

21 February 2010

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Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1, NIV

Some people seem to succeed in everything: their families, personal lives, and their work lives as well as service in the Church or ministry. They are active and are really going for God. When you get close to them and try to determine just how they manage to fulfil so much of their potential you’ll find that discipline plays a significant role.

Discipline is one of the most important character qualities we can possess and plays a key role in every area of life. It means that, often, we have to make a decision to face the tough challenges first so that we can enjoy the rewards later. When we go to a university or college we are choosing to put off earning money now so that we will benefit later on.

Discipline will also involve planning ahead. For example, if we are living on a budget we will have to plan and work out what our expenses are in advance, and however much we may like to buy something which isn’t in our budget, we can’t allow ourselves to do it. We’ve already made the decision about it ahead of time.

We can’t live our life making last minute, knee-jerk decisions. We have to do things because we have already planned what we should be doing. We can’t leave making a decision whether to go to the early morning, prayer meeting until we’re feeling tempted not to go, in the pleasant warmth of our beds. We have to have already decided what to do before then.

Galatians 5:23 says that the Holy Spirit helps us to produce discipline in our lives. We can always depend on God for His strength for us to do His will in our lives.

There are pay-offs for discipline. If we are spiritually disciplined, the reward is a victorious and fulfilled Christian life. The pay-off for financial discipline is freedom from debt, always having sufficient for our outgoings and an ability to give to the needs of others.

The rewards for discipline are great but they’re not instant. The world and the flesh clamours for instant gratification. “I must have it now!” despite the consequences. The world wants quick fixes. Therefore, it can be hard to choose the disciplined lifestyle, but we will never be the people God has called us to be without discipline.

Do we get up late? Skip our prayer time and rush out to work without eating breakfast? Are there areas in our life that need discipline?

Jesus calls His disciples to be disciplined. Today is not too soon to take our first small step towards a disciplined lifestyle. ‘Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us’ (Hebrews 12:1).

Prayer: Lord Jesus I know that in my life there are undisciplined areas that I need to address. Will You help me to start recognising them today. I know You want me to be led by the Holy Spirit, not by my carnal nature. I thank You that You’re changing me into the image of the Son of God and I want to work with You so that these things can be accomplished in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Jill Southern is the founder of Ellel Ministries Pierrepont and directed the work for 21 years. She has recently stood down from that role but still teaches on the NETS programme and has the passion to train and equip God`s people to fully walk in their destiny and calling. She is the Regional Director for Ellel Ministries International in South East Asia and China and is also on the Executive Leadership of the ministry.

 

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