At the beginning of every year people like to take the opportunity to make big changes in their life. It may be a change in eating habits or physical exercise, maybe a change in attitudes or emotions, possibly a change in spiritual habits. It seems that it is a great time to make changes in some form of discipline. There is nothing wrong with that since Jesus commented that it was his disciples or disciplined ones that would know the truth and be free. In other words, discipline can produce freedom if it’s in the right arena. The word “discipline” is defined as the practice of rules or a particular behavior. Oftentimes our struggle isn’t with what we know to be right but the action of doing what’s right.
The Word of God gives us some clues on how to be disciplined and it may not be what we think. First, let’s look at disciplines of the body or making the body act the way we want it to. James 3:2 tells us that if we want to bridle the body we must learn to talk right. It’s amazing how much our own tongue has an effect on our body. We constantly see how those that complain experience more aches and pains in their bodies. Think of how the children of Israel complained before entering the Promised Land and they were sentenced to die without entering it. They developed aches, pains, and diseases without getting their promise all because of their mouths. Many times, we separate bodily problems from our tongue, yet this scripture in James tells us we can bridle or discipline our body just by keeping our words right. Start saying, “I am free from… (whatever it is you need freedom from)” and watch how it falls off. Eventually you become convinced in your mind and your body will follow.
Secondly, we tend to establish new habits in our soul which would mean our mind, will, and emotions. The scripture reference for disciplines in this area is found in Romans 12:2 where it tells us that our mind is changed by the Word of God. If we take the Word of God in, it will begin to transform or change the way we think, the choices we make, and the way we feel. God’s words have enough power in them to change the depths of our soul. Jesus even said that His words were to give us joy. Imagine taking enough of what God says, that everything within us changes. Every time we make a decision, every time we have a wrong attitude, with each emotional up and down, we need to know that words from God will stabilize us and keep us from making mistakes. We have often heard the profound and true statement, “One Word from God can change your entire life.”
Finally, we as believers want to change our spiritual habits. It is very commendable to have a desire to be more disciplined spiritually since our spiritual life is what will count in heaven. Perhaps there is a desire to pray more or study more. Maybe it’s to spend more time praying in tongues or as simple as attending more church services. Regardless of what it is, the only way to develop the desire for what you know is spiritually right, is by spending more quiet time in the presence of the Lord. When we taste and see the goodness of the Lord (Psalm 34:8), we become entirely focused on Him. When our attention is captured by the Lord, nothing else matters. When we become single-minded in our daily pursuit, we will become changed. God can change anything about our life if we will just give Him some time. Isn’t it amazing how we have become so accustomed to difficulties and challenges of life, yet God has a way for us to pass through life unhindered and filled with delight. How foolish it must look from heaven’s perspective to see us struggling when a simple answer is available – time with Him.
This year let’s make some changes that will benefit us forever. Let’s make reasonable goals and then reach these goals by using the strategies of heaven. It’s time for us to be free by establishing new habits in Him. Be blessed and free! He
Pastor Jerry and Trudy