Thursday, November 24, 2011

November 24, 2011 … Purposeful Discipline

Passage of the Day: 1st Timothy 4: 8 [highlight verse in bold/underlined] … 7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

My Journal for Today:
Still focusing on how we can pursue Godly wisdom, applying an abiding understanding to God’s word, we come upon Paul’s very practical instruction to Timothy – and thereby to all believers – about the dangers involved in doing “good” at the expense of doing God’s “best.” It is one of Satan’s cleverest ploys to get non-believers so wrapped up in physical, social, and/or spiritual disciplines that are not bad, but they take that person’s focus completely away from the One, True God and His will for our lives. And similarly, many Christians fall prey to this ploy as well by investing untold hours in “good” things/activities, ignoring the Spirit-led disciplines of the faith which could bring them God’s “best” things in life.

That’s where Paul was going in his exhortation to Timothy, the younger man who was becoming the Pastor of the Church at Ephesus. Think about it. How many Christians have we seen get wrapped up in rigorous physical exercise programs and/or hobbies, not finding the time to participate with equal commitment in disciplines such as fasting, prayer, solitude, silence, and/or Bible memory or study? How many Christian deer hunters are willing to get up at 4:00am every morning of deer season to go hunting; but they are unwilling to get up at 6:00am every morning [or earlier if necessary] for a devotional time before they’re off to work which could deepen their relationship with Christ? Deer hunting is not a bad thing (unless you’re a Bambi lover); but saying that “I just don’t have time for a quiet time in the morning” is a bad thing when we choose a discipline of deer hunting over a driving hunt for the mind of God.

The Apostle Paul’s instruction for Timothy should hit us all where we live. Are these God-inspired words leading us into a discipline that could help shape us for HIS purpose where He could bless us with more of HIS power to accomplish HIS plan? Could I give up one half of my morning jog to have more time in the morning with God in Bible study and/or prayer? Could I spend one half of my daily lunch time at work praying for a list of intercessory prayer partners? Could I prioritize more time to a ministry/mission project which uses my spiritual gifts more for God’s glory than the worldly projects which occupy a lot of my daily calendar?

What we choose to do is a reflection of our values [see Matt. 6: 21]. And I have to continually keep asking myself to re-evaluate my “to do” list based upon my biblically founded Christian values. Are the “main things” in my life the MAIN THINGS in God’s plan for my life? And I always seem to come back to questions evolving out of Luke 9: 23

>>> Am I denying my own fleshly desires and serving within God’s plan for my life [see also Matt. 6: 33]?
>>> Am I carrying the crosses that Christ would lay at my feet rather than stepping around them to carry out tasks which I, personally, find important [see also Prov. 3: 5 – 6]?
>>> Am I really following the path that God has lain out for my life; or am I choosing the expedient, self-indulgent path which is wider and more traveled by others [again Prov. 3: 5 – 6]?

When I respond honestly to what Paul was instructing Timothy in today’s verse, often I have to redo my event planning list to come into line with God’s plans rather than my own. And when I do that, I find that my Christian witness becomes more powerful and my life more meaningful – just as Paul desired for Timothy [please meditate on and memorize Acts 1: 8].

My Prayer Today: Build me, Lord, into a powerful witness to Your Name. Amen

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