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Self Discipline

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SELF-DISCIPLINE
The letters to the Corinthians are the apostle Paul’s response to a series of specific questions and issues facing Christians in Corinth (a city in Greece). Paul had started the church in Corinth some years earlier and was quite concerned when he heard of their struggles. Corinth was a city filled with immorality and all kinds of pagan cults, including some that practiced ritual prostitution. Some of the Corinthian Christians were confused as to how to respond to the cultural temptations around them. There were conflicts within the Corinthian church, from differing opinions about sexual morality to lawsuits between fellow Christians to disagreements about appropriate behavior in worship. In these letters Paul addresses each issue with clear and concise spiritual teaching.
The topic for this morning is one of the areas where I keenly try to implement change to my personal life, and I hope what I preach today morning will also be a change to many of you. I also pray that all of you who are seated here will take my words not just blankly. But also look deeply even when you go back home.
For our short meditation, I have chosen the passage of 1 Corin 9:25-27, and from this passage we are going to look at the subject of SELF-DISCIPLINE. My first impression on this topic was is this necessary for me? Plus isn’t this a moral class? The Bible is very clear that all believers or the children of God should maintain a strict discipline in their lives.
Let us define: Discipline in the Bible is goal oriented-seeking to develop a godly person who will walk in God’s ways. Shall we read some verses 1 Thes 4:3; 5:18 for a living a Holy we need to maintain an order and this order comes from creating a discipline.
Even when I preach on this topic I remember my mother who is always behind me, and instructing me to have a discipline or atleast some of us can relate to our parents who use to teach us. Let me also tell that I have not achieved a perfection in this area, the more I study this topic the more I come across my weakness where I need to correct on this topic.
Shall we come back to our topic this morning – SELF DISCIPLINE. We saw the definition of discipline. It is a goal that we are oriented to develop a godly life walking in God’s ways. So when we study on the topic self discipline, we see that it is the goal to orient myself seeking to develop the godly and physical nature so I will walk in God’s ways. We have now understood the significance of this topic and now let us come to the passage I have read this morning. What are the areas where we in discipline fail – time management; finances; leadership; relationships – family.
Prov 25:28 - A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls. We can picture this ourselves what will happen to a city with broken walls. The city is easily destroyed. There the writer teaches that a person without self discipline he is in a chaos and he is destroyed. Throughout the history we see how God creates discipline for man, even from the OT when in the OT it is observed that how God creates an order in the lives of His children through Samuel the prophet of God 1 Sam 10:25 and we need to ask ourselves the question of why is this essential because man is in SIN.
We can now define why a Christian who needs discipline - .i.e. a Christian who fails to maintain a discipline in his life is destroyed as Rom 8:5 – the person is involved in SIN, and sin has controlled the lives of the believers. So as believers we need to maintain our lives pleasing the Spirit of God, and not living for ourselves. The problem with most of us and this is even more serious for a person like me is that we tend to assume we understand the gravity of sin, and we try to frame solutions. Dear brothers and sisters, the problem we fail to analyze is that we don’t have power over sin as long as we are in this world and Satan always tries to find a way to make us stumble and it is important we walk in a life worthy of the Lord in this world. Here we have a banner and indeed it is a matter of thought to think, how arewe conducting a life of HOLINESS in this world.
With 3 major thoughts on this topic of SELF DISCIPLINE – I would like to encourage the dear brother and sisters in this assembly to exercise on the factor of SELF-DISCIPLINE.
· SELF INSTRUCTION
Or in other words examining oneself – shall we examine Lam 3:40. The author in this passage, moves on to declare to turn back to the Lord. The significance of this verse we see in the NT how we need to turn back to the Lord, the being we are dominated by SIN and in this domination of sin we tend to behave chaotic, in the manner God designed to glorify HIM. This is the human weakness and we need to understand this is one area we are unable to conquer by ourselves, but when we submit the area of sin in our lives to God and when ask Him to take care of our lives, we can observe here the power of God in our lives.
When we submit ourselves to God we are able to distinguish between right and wrong as we receive the wisdom from God (prov 1:2-3), dear believers we will be only able to fix the mistakes in our lives with the power of God and not ourselves, as Ps 119: 59 – the lives which God has given us let us live by submitting to the Almighty God not by our laws or instruction but by God’s help. As I said earlier we need to stop assuming we have the power to conquer sin ourselves and we need to ask God for HIS help.
PERSONAL EXAMPLE: exercise
Once we learn our sins where we fail and when we stop assuming we have power over it, we need to work ourselves with daily sanctification in prayer and submission to the word of God.
· SELF DENIAL
The second thought on achieveing SELF DISCIPLINE, is SELF DENIAL. Shall we read Prov 25:16 – an illustration – to remind ourselves. Honey is sweet, but taking it too much only we will end up vomiting it because our body are designed in such a way not to intake too much sweet. What the author of Proverbs teaches us that, learning to put a boundary for our lives – learn to say NO when it is needed. When we live in this world we are placed to live our lives as examples and not as the worldly people. There are situations we need to work to say NO and we need to work towards it, now what happens when we don’t say NO, we tend to live a life of adjustment to SIN.
Holy lives to God doesn’t demand an adjustment but demands a life of Holiness and we need to be very careful to live accordingly.
My dear brethren, I am not teaching you to be legalistic but when this is Godly wisdom. Many areas of our lives we will find it hard as a Christian, but we are called by God to live in this world as examples of Christ. As called by God to live in this world let us put a boundary to our lives by the Spirit of God and meditate with the scriptures, and meditate the scriptures not just for the knowledge but to serve as a reminder for our Christian lives so we conduct a life of seriousness and not lethargically. Shall we read Gal 5:24 – this is an assurance for us Christians that apostle Paul teaches the believers in Galatia that they need not be worried about the passion or the pleasures of the world because once you are of Christ we will be only thinking of conducting Holy lives pleasing God.
· SELF CONTROL
The last area of self-discipline, self-control. What or who control you? Shall we read James 1:26, the author teaches here that it is important on how we use our tongues, and I have been challenged personally that it is not only by professing with our mouths we are Christians, or the preaching on a pulpit that declares you are Christian but it is the actions we do in faith in God that produces results of our Christian living. Through the imagery of the usage of the tongue the writer states that learning to controlling your own tongue is essential not others tongue.
Shall we read another portion from Is 33:15 – the author Isaiah teaches us that even when there are influences of sin in our society we need to train our bodies not to live in sin. Isaiah teaches learning to shut your eyes to keep your bodies away from sinning. I just remember how professor who taught us something important in our last classes on handling the issues of pornography, learning to refuse to porn or its related materials in the first 15 secs of the initial thought without cultivating further ideas will help the person to abstain from sinning.
The author Isaiah moves further to say how God is displeased when He sees his children living in SIN. Now dear brethren God hates Sin, but loves the sinner who repents and turns back to God, another thought I would like to add to this study is that how today even many of our existing assemblies have taken this thought for granted.
God hates sin, and God loves the repenting sinner and not all sinners, infact the scriptures mentions that God abhors the wicked. Sin makes man unholy, and ungodliness or unholiness doesn’t even stand a chance in front of the Holy God. As God who is Holy cannot accept unholy man.
Shall we move our lives forward with prayer.
How we self discipline?
It is the power of God given to a believer, how we conduct a life of holiness in front of God. we read 2 Tim 1:7 – even in our weakness we see how God has given us His Spirit to conquer SIN and it pleasures so that we can live a life of holiness.
So self discipline dear brother and sister is an exercise, God has given us by his grace so that we grow under God in holiness. So if we try by ourselves we fail.
It requires a determination to exercise. 1 Peter 4:7 - by prayer. Prayer an important tool to exercise in our daily lives, shall we look how much time we spend in prayer, not only for ourselves but also for others in the assembly.
Results of self discipline:
· We learn that it is the act of God, Heb 12:7-11, we study there that the Lrod disciplines those he loves and he punishes those he accepts as his children. We come to live in more close relationship with our Heavenly Father. It promotes a Holy Living
· Ps 94:12 – we study here that effective disciplined lives make us to conduct our lives in a happy and thankful manner
· Prov 12:1 – Discipline helps in our character development. We live a life of consistency in our Holy Living. Our lives will be come living testimonies for other to learn about Christ
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