I have been lazy. We all have at one point or another. Maybe too often than we care to admit. We waste our time away; time that we will never be able to get back. I think of laziness as being inactive or inconsistent activity. Basically, a lack of self-discipline. Being lazy also involves making a ton of “reasonable” excuses as to why we could not do what we should’ve done. Recently, this has been me.
Last week I ended my old job and began a new one the next day. I also had to prepare documents for my admission as an attorney. I used these as excuses to cut away at my time with God. I started with 15 min, then 30 min, then eventually I was saying a rushed prayer in the morning. I felt lost, a bit of track and exposed. The Holy Spirit reminded me of Proverbs 25:28 (AMP), which provides that “like a city that is broken down and without walls [leaving it unprotected] is a man who has no self-control over his spirit [and sets himself up for trouble].” To me, this applies not only to self-control but to self-discipline too.
On top of feeling like I have been walking around in my birthday suit, I read Proverbs 26:13 (AMP). It really hit me hard. I felt condemned.
Proverbs 26:13 (AMP): “The lazy person [who is self-indulgent and relies on lame excuses] says, “There is a lion in the road! A lion is in the open square [and if I go outside to work I will be killed]!”
Ordinarily, this sounds like a reasonable argument. A lion on the loose would kill you and it would be unreasonable to go out and expose yourself. The thing is Peter tells us that there is a lion on the loose all the time – “Be sober [well-balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 (AMP)). While this lion is on the prowl for our behinds, I know that God has not left us without any arsenal. God has given us his armour – the Armour of God! I learnt that I was exposed because I failed to put on the armour of God. Putting on is an action and my inaction was clearly the problem.
While I was in this state of vulnerability, I also found myself being more prone to sin and my mouth was a proper mess. You see, hiding the Word of God in our hearts keeps us from sin. But how can we hide the Word in our hearts if we don’t know what the Word says; if we don’t study it and devote our time and energy to it? To put a long story short, the Holy Spirit convicted me and made me realise that my reasons for inaction, reallocation of time and compromise was just lame excuses for my laziness at the end of the day.
Psalm 119:11 (CEB): “I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.”
Now I know that when we realise how wrong we’ve been, we are ashamed and shy away from God. I was no exception to this. But then I read in God’s Word that Jesus will not cast us out or ever reject us if we follow Him (John 6:37 (AMP)). So then just as I am I have come to God, sought His forgiveness through Christ Jesus and now I am writing this post about flexing our self-discipline muscles, the benefits of self-discipline and why it is important.
Flex those muscles!
1 Timothy 4:7 (AMP): “But have nothing to do with irrelevant folklore and silly myths. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness [keeping yourself spiritually fit].”
As we can see from 1 Timothy 4:7 (AMP), flexing our self-discipline muscles is our responsibility. We need to keep ourselves spiritually fit. It is not God’s job to do so. We often expect God to do everything for us because He can. You know – “ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete” (John 16:24 (CEB)). But as we know from Luke 4:9-12 (AMP), the devil manipulates the Word sometimes to deceive us. So first, we must always remember that above all else, God will always do what is best for us. And if you’re a parent then you will know that giving into your child’s every request is not always the best thing for them. Sometimes it is best for your child to do something for themselves to learn and to grow. This I believe applies to our relationship with God too. Even though we can always turn to Him for help, we cannot simply delegate all our duties over to Him. We would simply never grow up. So, we need to exercise self-discipline with His help on our own.
The benefits of self-discipline:
Let’s face it. Self-discipline sounds like a real drag. However, I know that the saying “nothing that is ever worth it is ever easy” applies here. So, the question is then what are we training for? We are training for:
- an eternal crown – 1 Corinthians 9:25 (AMP): “Now every athlete who [goes into training and] competes in the games is disciplined and exercises self-control in all things. They do it to win a crown that withers, but we [do it to receive] an imperishable [crown that cannot wither].
- the peace that comes from having a clear conscience and being kept in God’s will – Hebrews 12:11 (AMP): “For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems sad and painful, yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness [right standing with God and a lifestyle and attitude that seeks conformity to God’s will and purpose].” Hebrews 12:11 (AMP) together with 1 Peter 3:11 (AMP) reminds us that peace comes from self-discipline and like self-discipline, it must be “pursued eagerly [actively – not merely desiring it]”.
- insight. We cannot receive insight and wisdom without self-discipline – Proverbs 1:7; 8:5 (AMP).
Ultimately, the importance of self-discipline stems from it keeping us alert. Alert for when Jesus Christ is revealed (1 Peter 1:13 (AMP)).
So, how do we begin our training in self-discipline? We start by being obedient to God’s Word “for obedience teaches wisdom and self-discipline” (Ephesians 6:1 (AMP)).
Thanks for reading guys. Please spread the love.