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The word discipline means different things to different people. To a child discipline would probably mean getting a spanking for doing something wrong. To a soldier it means strictly following and obeying orders and regulations. To others discipline would mean defrocking or suspending one from attending or accessing certain privileges or opportunities. In scripture the word discipline is used in reference to a father training his children (Deuteronomy 8:5, Hebrews 12:7-12). This kind of discipline is meant to draw us away from things and ways of destruction and lead us into the likeness of Jesus Christ. As Christians, our focus and God's will for us is it to become Christ-like. For this to be realized, we must go through some form of training, a spiritual maturing journey or process that God allows us to experience to become like his son. This process demands that we deny ourselves some pleasures of this world and focus on our destiny.
Job Handry says “The job of a coach is to make players do what they don't want to do, in order to achieve what they have always wanted to be”. Similarly for us to attain spiritual maturity, it calls for self-discipline (I Corinthian 9:24-27). Self – discipline is one of the Christian graces we are to develop and grow in (Galatian 5:23, 2 Peter 1:5-6). It requires some sort of discipline to win in soccer, athletics, achieve good grades in school, good yields in the business field, etc. we have many people in the world with great ambitions that will never become a reality simply because they have no discipline. One of the outstanding church fathers we hear and read about is John Wesley. He is said to have travelled an average of 20 miles a day for 40 years, he got up every morning at 4.00am. He preached 40,000 sermons. He produced 400 books and knew ten languages. At the age of 83, he was annoyed because he could not write more than 15 hours a day without hurting his eyes, and at the age of 86 he was ashamed that he could not preach more than twice a day. He complained in his dairy that there was an increasing tendency to lie in bed until 5:30 in the morning.
Hendricks says that “The willingness to forgo immediate pleasure in order to obtain the ultimate prize lies at the core of victory”. In his article about Self – Discipline, Alan Smith identifies six areas of focus: Firstly, we must discipline our minds, train ourselves to think. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Secondly, discipline our bodies. “For bodily exercise profits a little …” Our bodies are all we have to serve God and good care of them is profit to God's kingdom (1 Timothy 4:8a).
Thirdly, disciplined moral character, “…, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8b). Fourthly, discipline our appetite - that is learning to make our body to do the things we tell it to. Proverbs 25:16 says “Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you should, lest you be filled with it and vomit”. Fifthly, discipline our speech. No matter how self – controlled you are, if you have not bridled your tongue, you have still a long way to go. James says “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless” (James 1:26, see Proverbs 29:11). Lastly, discipline in arranging priorities. We cannot give to everything and everybody, so we have got to choose. Our maturity as Christians will be determined exactly and entirely by our skill to choose. Mathew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you”. Important to note and remember is that self-discipline is only a servant to be used in our endeavor to glorify God. Self – discipline by itself does not make us right with God, a right relationship with God does. Is your life aligned to God's will?

Pastor's Weekly Corner

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Lavington United Church was founded in 1960 through a joint effort of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK), Methodist Church of Kenya (MCK) and the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) as a community church to minister to the Lavington community. <<Read full History>>

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