Definitions of discipline

This is so where I was before I worked out my plan for understanding food for what it is for (sustenance) and not what it is not for (indulgence). You have to understand that before I made this change, I was one of the most undisciplined, unorganized people that I’ve ever met (and I’ve met quite a few), and I’m still not perfect in this area.

One thing that I’ve learned about discipline is that there are two different but definitely connected definitions. The first is being in control of yourself, teaching yourself to do what is right and what is expected (by God), the second is what happens to us when we don’t, it’s the punishment aspect.

I learned a long time ago that it’s easier to learn from someone else’s mistakes than to make our own. That’s why we have a Bible that is FILLED with people who made mistakes (so we can learn from theirs – much less painful).

The Lord really convicted me about being self-controlled, and thus self-disciplined. I highly encourage you to read these following verses that helped me in this area, but note that this require deliberate, intentional effort, it’s not easy, but once you start and see the benefits (both physical and spiritual), it’s amazing.

Proverbs 16:32 – Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.

Proverbs 25:28 – Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.

Galatians 5:22-24 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Titus 2:4-5 – Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Titus 2:11-13 – For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

This is a very serious topic, because when I looked deep within, I realized that my “food area” was not the only “area” that I was lacking in regarding God’s favor and approval. Self-discipline isn’t something that you have to be born with, it’s something that we are told (throughout Scripture) to DEVELOP. It’s not just for a few people, but as Titus 2:11-13 tells us, the grace of God that we receive upon salvation, gives us the “equipment” we need to exercise self-discipline, but like any other exercise equipment, if we don’t USE it and exercise with it, it’s useless. Dare we render God’s grace useless? I had to choose not to do so after I looked into His bruised and bleeding face, into those eyes that told me that He loved me enough to do this for ME, but also pleading with me to love HIM enough to fully embrace the depth and power of His grace!

I’d like to break down this passage for you, as I applied it to my “eating area”, and then, God worked me through each and every area of my life that needed this process.
(I’m still working through some – it is a process, and we will always have more “areas” to work on, so I feel it’s crucial to learn this process.)

1 Peter 1:3-11 (with my notes added in parentheses)
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make EVERY effort to add to your faith (believing in God through Christ), goodness (a desire to please God); and to your goodness, knowledge (I studied all I could about what I SHOULD eat, what’s best for the temple that God created me to be); and to knowledge, self-control (me being in control of my body and will, not the other way around, this MUST be a choice, and it does take work, but here in this passage, this is what we’re TOLD to do); and to self-control, perseverance (making myself do it, through prayer and drawing on God’s strength – it will be there when you choose to rely on it); and to perseverance, godliness (this is the product that we are striving for – with God’s help, as Peter says here, it IS attainable – but only when we’re willing to work for it); and to godliness, mutual affection; (understanding and helping others through what we’ve been through ourselves, as we rely on those who’ve been to the new places we need to go); and to mutual affection, love (when we see how much we have in common, and realize how God uses the things we go through to help others, as well, as helping us through what others have been through – this empathy cycle helps to start the Christian type of love that we’re commanded to show). FOR IF YOU POSSESS THESE QUALITIES IN INCREASING MEASURE, THEY WILL KEEP YOU FROM BEING INEFFECTIVE AND UNPRODUCTIVE IN YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. BUT WHOEVER DOES NOT HAVE THEM IS NEARSIGHTED AND BLIND, FORGETTING THAT THEY HAVE BEEN CLEANSED FROM THEIR PAST SINS.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election (through the previous process). FOR IF YOU DO THESE THINGS YOU WILL NEVER STUMBLE, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

This is how I manage to stay in “control” (through the Holy Spirit) of my will and actions. At each thing that I start to do (from teaching the kids to eating to playing), I ask myself, “Would I be ashamed to be doing this if the Lord appeared at this very instant”. The reason I do this, is because I learned that the fact of the matter is that the Lord doesn’t have to APPEAR at any given instant, the FACT is that He IS there at EVERY given instant. So, if it’s not something that I feel that God would stamp His seal of approval on, I don’t do it. I do still make mistakes, but not in the areas that I KNOW so far. As I learn new “grievances” against God, I work through this process again and again, but once an area is “mastered” it’s not so tough any more.

I hope this helps. I whole-heartedly understand that this “regimen” seems harsh, and strict, but you can make it as flavorful as you choose, so you don’t feel deprived, but when you eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and snacks, you’re teaching your body that “This is what you are getting – be happy with it.” We expect obedience and immediate action from our kids when we give them something to do, but we often fail ourselves to be as obedient to God as we expect our children to be.

In Christ’s love and service always,
Beth Fisher

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1 Comment »

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