2 Peter 1:5-8, “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge; 6-And to knowledge temperance (self-control, discipline); and to temperance, patience (endurance); and to patience godliness; 7-And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity (love). 8-For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren (idle) nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
II Timothy 1:7, “For you have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, and of love and of a sound mind” (self-discipline, self-control).
THE FRUIT OF DISCIPLINE:
These things listed are manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit, love (Gal.5:22,23). If we live in them both practically and spiritually and then release them outwardly by faith, according to this word, we are being fruitful. This means that we are growing in grace. And that means, we’ve taken another step toward spiritual maturity, for which we’re all called to come to. The main thing I want to look at is ‘temperance,’ which is also called self-control or discipline. Both of these basically mean the same thing. So, for the sake of clarification, I’m going to say, discipline because this word is taken from the word disciple.
We become disciples of Jesus if we continue in the Word as He said do in John 8:31. And within that discipleship, we would know the truth (Jesus said, I am the Truth-John 14:6), and the truth would make us free (John 8:32). He also said in John 8:36, “For whom the Son (the Truth) sets free, he is free indeed."
By revelation of His logos Word, the Holy Spirit illuminates it in our spirits where it becomes Rhema Word, and helps us to see that we are just as free as Jesus is right now. “As He is, so are we in this world” (1 John4:17). Is Jesus free? Yes indeed, He is, and so are we IN Him. That truth, if received and acted on by faith, should help us all to begin walking in the same freedom as Jesus walked in while He was here in the flesh. Let me ask you something else, did Jesus live a disciplined life, both practically and spiritually while He walked this earth? Yes, most assuredly, He did. In following His example as its set before us, so must we do likewise.
God is very interested in developing our character as we are ambassadors of God here in this earth before other people. He’s also interested in our practical lives as well. Why is this so? Because, if we learn more discipline in our practical everyday lives, then this will transfer over into our spiritual lives as well. We will be more disciplined in how we spend our time. Are we wasting it or are we redeeming the time (Eph.5:16) given to us each day for the furthering of the Kingdom of God? If we redeem the time, we will be more disciplined in our reading of God’s Word and in spending quality time in His presence and going out to witness of Christ Jesus and His goodness to those who are lost and hurting.
If our practical lives are in utter chaos all the time, then our spiritual lives will also reflect this. It will show up in things such as sporadic reading of the Word, hit or miss praying, going to church occasionally, giving praise and thanksgiving now and then, and never going out to witness Christ to people in need. We will be what I call, yo-yo Christian’s. Those who are up on the mountain one day, giving high praises to God, and then down in the valley the next day crying, ‘woe is me.’ Anybody else been here in this place besides me? I think we could all say, amen.
We are all in the Holy Spirit’s school of discipline because Jesus said when the Comforter came, He would teach us and lead us into all truth. We can choose to fight against being in the Holy Spirit’s school or we can choose to surrender to His work in our life and become more Christ like. God gives us that choice but He said, choose life (Deut.30:19)--choose wisely the right way so that it will bring you blessing, both for you and your children. The discipline you learn now, both practically and spiritually, you will pass on to your children and even their children as well. Yes, we’re responsible for future generations being taught and learning God’s principals. Amen.
ORDER AND PEACE:
God wants us to have peace and joy in our lives to the point where we rest in our faith in Him. Trusting Him with all of our hearts and leaning not to our own understanding (Proverbs 3:3-5). God doesn’t want His children living in constant chaos and confusion. That is, your household turned upside down all the time for this reason or that reason. God has a certain order that He put into motion for this whole universe at the time of creation. There is an order in nature. We see this in the change of the seasons---one season ends another one begins. The same way it does in our lives. We go through seasons in God.
There is an order in the land where the law of gravity is in place and works as God designed it. The force of gravity works in discipline with the force of lift for planes to become airborne. There is an order of ministry in the church (Eph.4:11,12)--let all things be done decently and in order (1 Cor. chapter 12). It’s obvious that God like’s order. Even things that look like it was ‘suddenly’ as on the day of Pentecost, came in on God’s order of things. Much prophecy from disciplined prophets from the Old Testament had gone forth, foretelling of this event--this promise of the Spirit to come.
Jesus had to come into this world (John 3:16) as all-man/all-God (John 1:14) and learned to be disciplined to the Father’s will and His order of things. Jesus said, ‘I only do what I see the Father do.’ Jesus was to go to the cross and become sin for us so that we could be made the righteousness of God.God’s order included the world having the opportunity to be saved through Jesus.
He had to pour out His blood on the cross so that the Holy Ghost could be poured out on the day of Pentecost. The Spirit only comes where the blood has first been applied. Hallelujah! Thanks be unto God for the precious blood of Jesus! The angels proclaimed to the world the glory of Jesus when He made his entrance into this earthly realm. “Peace on earth, good will toward men,” they shouted with joy. The Anointed One of God, our peace had come. Amen!
There is a peace and contentment in knowing that things are in order. God has put it in every one of us to want to know peace in our lives. And when things are out of order, we are in confusion and unrest. If any of you ladies are like me, when things get out of order in your house, you’re not at peace or content until things come back into order. Everything in it’s place where it’s suppose to be.
Of course, we have to be careful not to go to extreme in this, but I think you see what I’m trying to say here. When things are out of order in your life practically, you’re in unrest and discontentment. But once you set things back in order through God’s Word, prayer and discipline, then peace will settle over your mind and spirit once again. Things are right again. Peace is to be experienced both practically and spiritually. Jesus said, (paraphrase), “I give you MY peace but not like the peace that’s in the world. My peace is supernatural and brings to your spirit the fullness of My joy.”
PRACTICALLY SPIRITUAL AND SIMPLE:
It’s just as important for our practical lives to be in order as it is for our spiritual life to be together. It’s not good for us ladies to be slothful in the things we have to do. Or for a man to be slothful in keeping up the yard, or from being faithful to work to take care of his family. And don’t think that as long as your spiritual life is together, we can let the yard grow up and let the house and everything else fall apart too. That might be our way of seeing things, but I’m here to tell you that God see’s this just a little bit different than we do.
If things in your practical life are undisciplined in the area of finances, too much spending, credit cards maxed out, etc. Or your children are rebellious, rude and disrespectful. Or your household, no budget, unkempt, inside and out with family strife. Your car maintenance next to zero, no tune-up‘s, oil changes, washings, repairs, Ins.. Your business affairs in disaray, poor books, cheating on taxes, sloppy service. If this is the case then your spiritual life is going to reflect such a lack of self-discipline.
What about the 5000 Jesus fed? Yes, He wanted to teach His disciples about faith and miracles, demonstrating His power, but He also took care of those people’s practical need for food. More than once, He also told His disciples to come apart and rest. This says that He cared about such a practical thing as resting your body. He didn’t say, lay down all the time on the couch and watch TV.
But in that time of resting and allowing your body and your mind to quieten down, God can take the opportunity to speak some things into your spirit He wants to that you need. Things that will change your life and bring the blessings of the Lord in it more abundantly. Things that will help you to take another step on that pathway of holiness to becoming more Christ like. Things that will draw your heart closer to your heavenly Father. Amen.
This is what it’s all about. Allowing Jesus to LIVE big on the inside of us so that we reflect His Character and nature on the outside---showing love toward all people and being holy as He is holy. You may wonder what in the world does practical discipline have to do with God’s love and His holiness? It has a lot to do with it.
The devil has tried to blind us and keep us in the dark where these simple things are concerned. We’ve believed His lies when he’s told us that we have to be ‘religious’ in order for certain people groups to accept us. Or even for God to accept us. And so we’ve spent much time in trying to MAKE ourselves acceptable to God.
Might as well hang that one up on the nail because it isn’t going to happen. Eph.1:6, “We are accepted in the beloved (through Jesus and His blood).”Religion is all about works and traditions and that's what you end up being enslaved to. And so, down through the year’s we developed and maintained man’s religious traditions and called ourselves spiritual when nothing could be further from the truth. I could really go off in this but I‘ll save that until another time..
One time as the Lord shared some things with me I said, “Lord, that is so simple.” His reply back to me was, “All My truth is simple.” We’ve allowed Satan to influence us, preying on man’s quest for God whereby we have been sidetracked and more times than not, have stumbled on our journey with Jesus. We’ve allowed Satan to lead us blindly through a confused maze of the rules of religious traditions that said, everything about God is complicated.
But God is not as complicated as you might think. Nor is His truth complicated. It is simple. It is only complicated when our pridefully rebellious nature that we inherited from Adam rears up against God and wants to be in control. That is, we become resistant and disobedient to the simplicity of God and we say, “No, I can’t do that. It’s too hard.” Saying “I can’t” really means, ‘I don’t want to.’
Anything is hard when you’re going against the river instead of flowing with it. When you flow with the disciplines God brings to you and you’re obedient to it, the task then becomes simple and without struggle. It also brings blessings of peace and joy. If you were in a river and instead of going with the down stream flow, you’re trying to swim up stream, it would be a hard thing to do wouldn’t it? Yes, it would. But when you surrender to the direction of the flow and discipline yourself to go with it, it becomes easy. It becomes simple and it brings peace and joy into your life.
BECOMING BETTER STEWARDS:
Some years ago, the Lord began to deal with my husband and myself about becoming better stewards of our home. When this first came to me, I knew without doubt that we were about to enter God’s school of discipline a little more intensely. We were being moved up a grade, so to speak. God was speaking about becoming more organized in every area of our lives. And at the time, I remember thinking, ‘yeah, this is a good thing. We need this.’ As I took quick inventory of our lives, I could see that we both needed to become more disciplined in practical things, as well as spiritual things.
That very night as my husband and I went over the events of the day, he told me he felt the Lord had been speaking to him about becoming better stewards of our home, etc. Well, when God wants something to get underway, He sure doesn’t waste any time. But we do by procrastinating (disobedience in slow motion). I shared with my husband that God had been speaking to me about the very same thing. So, it looked like class was in session and the Holy Spirit, as our Teacher, was ready to get us started.
A few days later during my prayer time, I said, “Lord, I know and I understand what you’re wanting me to do---and you’re right. I do need to be more disciplined in everything.” His quick reply startled me, although it shouldn’t have. He said, “When are you going to start?” I didn’t make comment for a few moments. It looked like I had for sure, put my big foot in my mouth by saying what I did. I wanted Jesus to know that while I thought this discipline thing was a good idea, I wanted a little more time to think it over and see how it felt. Am I talking to anybody else who’s been here in this place? I agreed that this idea sounded good, but the doing part--well, that was a whole other matter.
The Lord was silent too and it looked as if I had really done it now. I had for sure put me on the spot. Maybe I could act like I didn’t hear Him. I quickly dismissed that notion because He knows my thoughts. At the moment, I didn’t find that to be a great comfort. I just didn’t feel that I’d had enough time to think about this thing.
When I had agreed to getting more organized, I thought I was prepared to do what the Lord was asking me to do. I found out very quickly that I wasn’t as prepared (willing) as I had thought. I was still silent wanting to answer Jesus this way, “Can’t I have a little more time to warm up to the idea first?” He answered that question and said, “There’s no better time to start than right now.” See? I told you He knew my thoughts. And guess what? He knows yours too.
DO IT NOW!
Wouldn’t you just naturally expect Jesus to say, now is the right time? I mean, He’s a now God. Now is the acceptable time to be saved (2 Cor.6:2). Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Heb.11:1). Our motto is, “Tomorrow God! I’ll do it later when I feel like it.” We are created in God’s image, made in His likeness and He knows each of us inside and out, better than we know ourselves. He knows ALL of our weaknesses and our strong points even when we’re unaware of them and He‘s made provision to help us by His grace.
The Bible says that Jesus is touched with the feeling of our infirmities (weaknesses) (Heb.4:16). He understands and though He has compassion on us, He still says, “Do it now.” He extends His enabling grace to help us do exactly what He’s asking of us. To help us do what we couldn’t otherwise. It’s just that simple folks. Without Jesus, we can do nothing (John 15:5). But with Him, we can do all that He calls us to do SUPERnaturally (Phil.4:13). That’s simple, uncomplicated faith when we choose to believe that God’s grace is available and it is sufficient to help us through this next grade level.
The devil will always tell you to put things off until the next day, and the next day, and the next day, until you soon forget what it was God asked you to do in the first place. This was the devil’s plan all along---to get you to be in disobedience to God, your heavenly Father. But even though we may listen to the devil and put things off and end up forgetting, the Holy Spirit will bring it around to you again. He will nudge you and say, “Do it now!” And this time, we must be quick to obey His voice and do as He ask’s.
WASHING OUT PANTYHOSE:
In the area of practical discipline, the Lord began working with me in the simple task of washing out pantyhose. Can you believe that? Washing out pantyhose! He started working with my husband to be more consistent in house and vehicle maintenance. The Holy Spirit had us both cleaning out drawers and closets---getting rid of the clutter and putting things in order there too. This, of course, bled over into our spiritual lives as well. The Lord told me to get my study more organized. I was to discipline myself even more, as if I was actually going to school. He said, I was in school, His school. My husband was to become more disciplined in reading the Bible and learning the Word.
I had been involved in cleaning out drawers, closets, and all those things---getting my study more organized, and I had forgotten about the other little thing I was suppose to do. I went into the bathroom one day carrying a pair of pantyhose I’d worn the day before. Usually, there would be as many as two to four pairs already laying in a pile on the bathroom counter. When it got to this point, I’d get to the task of washing them all out. I had to since I wouldn’t have anymore clean pantyhose to wear. Isn’t this just too pitiful how we put off doing such simple things? We promise ourselves that we’ll do it tomorrow for sure. We say this to soothe our conscience. But how long does it take to wash out one pair of pantyhose?
And so on this day, I was about to add yet another pair of pantyhose on top of the other two pair laying on the bathroom counter. Just as I was about to put them down, the Holy Spirit spoke and said, “Don’t lay those pantyhose down there.” My hand stopped in mid-air like a thief who had been caught red-handed about to steal. Still holding the pantyhose, I drew my hand back and very casually said, “Yeah, I believe I’ll just go ahead and wash these out right now.”
I got myself busy washing out those pantyhose and as I did, I got tickled at how the Lord had dealt with me in this particular discipline. Of course, you repent of procrastination and receive by faith, the Lord’s forgiveness. But folks, Jesus does have a sense of humor. Amen, yes, He does. And just by the peace that I felt in my heart was indication to me that quite possibly, Jesus was smiling about things too. I just knew He was.
Still washing the pantyhose, I said, “See, Lord, I’m washing these out just like you told me to do.” And just by that simple obedience to do what God had asked of me, I was being blessed. I was doing what He said do with a good attitude and because of it, I had peace in my heart. Plus, the joy of the Lord was bubbling up inside me. Who would believe that you could experience God’s peace and joy over washing pantyhose? This tells us once again that obedience to God brings blessing, and disobedience brings cursing. Isn’t that just so simple?
What I was experiencing wasn’t because of the pantyhose. It was because I love God and in my heart, I truly wanted to do what He was asking of me. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying that I don’t need anymore lessons in discipline---that I’ve arrived. What I am saying is that, when I put my will and my faith out there to say, “Yes, Lord,” then the Holy Spirit empowers me through His grace to go on and do SUPERnaturally what God has called me to do.
And this is whether it’s something practical or spiritual (Phil.4:13). I had the desire, and I wanted to be obedient, my flesh didn’t. But I wanted to be obedient to my heavenly Father and when I stepped out in faith, God honored my faith in Him and in His Word. “Without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Heb.11:6). And the pantyhose? It took me approximately one minute to wash them out. Can you believe that? One minute out of twenty-four hours. That left me twenty-three hours and fifty-nine minutes to do other things such as read God’s Word, pray and study, take a walk, etc.
So, let me say it again, in love and faith, our obedience to do what God ask’s us to do, whatever it may be brings blessings from our Father. To be disobedient in doing those things that are contrary to what God tells us to do brings cursing and things don’t go well for our lives. And let me clarify this--obedience to do God’s will is a discipline.
A LESSON LEARNED WELL:
In my own learning to become more disciplined, everytime I went into the bathroom, I was confronted with that pile of unwashed pantyhose staring me in the face! That’s right! They would nag at me the whole time I was there. And when I would leave the room, I could just feel those pantyhose boring a hole in my back, accusing me, “I’m dirty! Wash me, wash me!” Usually, I couldn’t wait to get out of there fast enough and away from those accusing pantyhose. Once I was completely out of the room and got busy with other things, I forgot about that “little pile”on the bathroom counter.
That's been several years ago now and what is the update on those accusing pantyhose? Have I passed this particular class in God’s school of discipline? Praise the Lord! I’m still disciplined in washing out those pantyhose! Gone is that little pile of ‘disobedience’ on the bathroom counter. Now when I go into the bathroom, I no longer feel condemned and accused. And though I still have plenty of room to grow in discipline in all areas of my life, I can say that I’m a lot further in it than I was.
2 Timothy 1:7 from the Amplified Bible says, that we’ve been given self-control and self-discipline. We engage this by faith in God’s Word and by His grace to help us learn to live a more disciplined life. I’m not talking about a rigid life under strict religious rules. But a life that is focused on Jesus and controlled by the Holy Spirit, because “where the Spirit is, there is liberty.” Amen. Not bondage. The Holy Spirit is there as our Helper in becoming more disciplined, both practically and spiritually. So, don’t be surprised if He talks to you about discipline and organization. Even about car maintenance and washing out pantyhose! Amen, praise the Lord!
In conclusion, let me ask you if the Holy Spirit has been talking to you lately about becoming more disciplined and organized in your practical life and in your spiritual life? Let this be the day that you are ready to seriously enter God’s school of discipline. And when you do, you can look for the peace, joy and the blessings to come forth because of your obedience to the things God is asking you to do. Praise the Lord. God is a good God all the time and He loves to bless His children exceedingly, abundantly above anything you can think or imagine, according to the power that works in you (Eph.3:20). Amen.