Good morning!! For this Tuesday Unwrapped I want to unpack a word: Discipline. I went to a women's ministry meeting last night and the topic was about our time with God (or for most of us-the lack of it). She ended with a challenge for us to intentionally make time for God in our lives every day for 6 weeks and notice the difference in our lives. The one word that the women's panel kept using was the D word....Discipline. I so have this problem...in more ways than one. I lack the discipline that I need to keep a clean house, a schedule for my kids, and most importantly time with my God. What was said last night hit one of my "Duh, why didn't I see that!" buttons and so I did what any good bible study girl would do--I blew the dust off my study bible and looked up the word discipline.
Most of the scriptures had to do with God disciplining his children, but I did find one written by Paul that I could unpack. I was so excited to actually have something jump off the page at me and I understood it! I guess when He tells us if we seek Him we'll find Him--He really meant that!
'No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.' 1 Corinthians 9:27
At first glance, you may wonder what in the world this has to do with discipline, but on closer examination it has everything to do with it. In my notes I made today I wrote that Paul meant to live in the Spirit and put to death the misdeeds of the body (from the notes at the bottom of the scripture). The misdeeds of the body are different for everyone: laziness, messiness, procrastination, envy, disobedience, and so on.
He beat his body and made it submit to doing the 'right' things, not worldly passions. By 'right' things I take that as prayer, studying the Word, mission work, loving others, etc. To discipline yourself to serve Christ is a choice. It is not automatic once you become a Christian. He puts the desire in your heart for a relationship with him, but YOU have to act on it (and have the discipline to follow through).
As far as the prize Paul is referring to: I think it means eternal life (the ultimate prize), but he could also be referring to the fact that if he didn't practice what he preached, he'd be a hypocrite and may lose some of his eternal reward. Not lose his eternal life, but part of his reward (the bible does say we'll be rewarded for our good works done for His kingdom Matt. 6, 16:27, 1 Cor. 3:8). So, in other words, practice what you preach. If you tell someone they need to study the Word and pray daily, then you better make sure you are doing the same!
I have made the commitment to God to give him at least 30 minutes of my day-every day-for...well, until He comes or calls me home to Him. If I mess up, I'll start over the next day. He deserves at least that much from me after all He's done for me! How about you?