Disciplined person distinguishes what is good and profitable and what is not
May the peace and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be multiplied unto you on this wonderful day! I pray that the word form God to you today will to penetrate your heart and strengthen you in your spirit, soul and body. Yesterday we talked about how Paul disciplined himself. Since Paul had a desire to prove his worthy before God and not be ashamed or disqualified at the appearance of the Lord, he disciplined himself and put his body under subjection in order to attain this goal. And we discussed that a disciplined person is not subject to or controlled by anything, especially the appetites of the flesh, rather; he puts his flesh and desires under subjection. In 1st Corinthians Paul wrote about himself:
« All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not fur sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body » (1 Corinthians, 6:12-13).Paul is saying here that everything is lawful for him, but not everything is helpful or profitable. Discipline is the ability to distinguish between what is profitable and what is not and then acting on that knowledge by subjecting oneself to the profitable things while avoiding the unprofitable things of life. Paul made a choice to do only what was good and what was profitable for him and his purpose in life. He refused to engage himself in anything that was not profitable. It is not accidental that in the passage above Paul goes on to talk about the stomach and food, because this example of one of the areas where we need to exercise discipline. For example, a disciplined man does not eat everything that is set before him, but chooses the things that are good for his health. An undisciplined man is different in this; he eats what he likes and then justifies it using the Bible passages such: God tells us to bless our food and eat everything that is set before us, since they will be sanctified by the word of God and prayer (1Tim.4:5). Do you know it is possible to lose spiritual alertness due to the lack of discipline in the area of food? That is what Jesus words imply in the following passage of Scripture:
«But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man» (Luke, 21:34-36).Gluttony can diminish one’s spiritual sensitivity so much that he stops detecting God’s timing. Besides, fasting which is restraining from food can only be practiced effectively by those who are disciplined in the area of food. Please remember that discipline implies the readiness to restrain from many things in order to achieve your goals like all athletes who participate in competition do. Discipline as abstinence includes restraining from food as well. Restraining from food or fast is a spiritual discipline that must be practiced by all who want to be effective in the Kingdom of God and attain imperishable crown in heaven. Such goal requires of us to be disciplined and to have a defined system of values. So a disciplined person distinguishes what is good and profitable and what is not. More so, he is willing to give up things that are lawful, but are not profitable in order to attain the goals:
«All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not fur sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body» (1 Corinthians, 6:12-13).Besides the issue of food, Paul talks about discipline in the area of sexual desire: Now the body is not fur sexual immorality…» (1 Corinthians 6:13). Speaking of discipline, we are also talking about the control of physical desires in all areas of our lives so that they would not stand in the way of the fulfilment of our mission in life. Paul says he does not want to be counted unworthy on the Day when Jesus would assess his works. This goal motivated Paul to set certain routines, rules and restrictions for himself in the areas of his physical desires. This applies to the issues of food, sexual desires, sleep; distribution of finances and material resources and many other issues. For purpose of reaching his goal, Paul said he subjected his body to discipline in these areas, therefore he was not a slave to his own desires; rather he subjected his desires to the will of God. The next passage of Scripture opens our eyes to have a glimpse of what this subjection of the body meant for Paul:
«We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things» (2 Corinthians, 6:3-10).So, discipline requires subjection of oneself for the sake of reaching high goals in life – for the sake of fulfilling one’s heavenly calling. God changes us through discipline; so if we want to change we need to be serious about discipline and have to discipline ourselves. We will continue tomorrow! I wish you God’s abundant blessings! Pastor Rufus Ajiboye
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