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Discipline: Train Yourself to be Godly

What will it take in the Christian’s life to overcome broken resolutions and commitments?

It will be a great benefit to realize that there is no such thing as instant godliness. There are no “one minute,” thirty days, or “three easy steps” to a life of righteousness that pleases God. That is not the way God planned for our sanctification.

We are justified instantly by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  But justification and sanctification are completely different.

We have spent a life time developing patterns of sinful attitudes, thinking and behaviors. These habits will not be broken and replaced with godly behavior and thinking without commitment and discipline.

The apostle Paul uses an athletic image to tell us we must discipline ourselves to live godly. “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7). Why is it so important? The next verse tells us “it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” It has immediate pay offs in this life, and eternal rewards.

Discipline is that determined effort on our part that corrects, molds and perfects the character of a person. Holy character does not come all at once, but over a lifetime.

This “discipline” is the training that is needed for the unhindered pursuit of God’s will and purposes.

Discipline puts into daily practice our commitment to live a godly life. It begins in the mind. “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

This inner transformation takes place as we memorize, meditate, and put into daily practice the precious truths of the Bible.

Old sinful habits and patterns of behavior and thinking are changed as we form new habits of obedience to the will of God. As we put these new attitudes and behaviors into practice over a period of time we form new patterns of thinking and behavior. It then becomes easier and easier to live a life that is pleasing to God. We are responsible to put into action a plan for daily Bible reading, study, prayer, etc. The Holy Spirit can then apply to our inner person the Scriptures we have learned. I cease to be amazed how He brings to my mind in time of need passages of Scripture or principles I have learned in the past. He gives us inner strength as He applies His Word to our daily life. We have to do our part by disciplining ourselves to study and meditate on the Word of God. If you will not discipline yourself to get into God’s Word you will not grow in Christ-likeness. No one else can do that for you.

Just as physical exercise is good for the body, the apostle Paul tells us our mind, emotions, will and spiritual life needs vigorous exercise as well. Just as the Greek athlete would discipline himself with vigorous exercise in order to win the athletic games, we are exhorted to exercise in such as way as to excel in godliness.

M. R. Vincent notes, “Godliness has promise for the present life because it has promise of the life which is to come. Only the life which is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 1:1) is life indeed (1 Tim. 6:19).”

Are you training yourself toward the goal of true godliness? “The reason why we toil and struggle so hard is that we have set our hopes on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:10). That is what makes the effort on our part so worthwhile.

As we have stressed before, we live a life of obedience as we yield to the presence of the Holy Spirit. We must daily know Jesus Christ better if we are to grow in Christ-likeness. To know Him better we must feed our minds and nourish our faith in Him.

Are you training your soul in holiness? Are you in a determined pursuit of godliness in your own life?

When we keep in mind of the ultimate goal we realize the pursuit is worthwhile. 

Our goal is the pursuit of holiness. It is nothing less than to be presented to God the Father whole and complete, perfect, in Jesus Christ.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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(c) 2006  Message by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

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