As Christ followers we have been called to live a life of self-control and discipline. Not as a way to earn anything from God but as a means to experience freedom in our walk with Him. When we start to embody and live out the fruits of the Spirit (one being self control) we will begin desiring a life of physical and mental discipline as well. The ripple effect of stewarding our time and resources well for the Glory of God begins to overflow into every area of our life.
When you begin creating positive improvements in your life you will begin creating positive ripples that spread out all around you. Think of a pebble being thrown into a pond. What happens when it drops in? Ripples work their way out from the pebble. Some of those ripples may not be visible but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Their impact can be enormous!
The truth is when you start positively changing your life, others will be affected. Your spouse, your family, your children, your employees, your friends and everyone you come in contact with. Even if you don’t have a spouse YET or a family YET the person you chose to become will make an impact on them one day.
I’ll never forget the moment I created my first intentional habit. I was in eighth grade, transferring to a new school and made getting in the Word every single morning my goal. Since I would no longer have Bible classes as my crutch I knew I needed to spend time with God each day. This habit was much easier to develop since I had seen my mom and dad in the word each morning. Their habits and discipline had made a ripple effect on me.
But before you can take the first step of creating these disciplines in your life, you must believe you CAN.
Jeff Olson puts it this way in his book The Slight Edge, “People on the success curve live in responsibility. People on the failure curve live in blame.”
The first step in sowing fresh disciplines is believing that you can. Take responsibility for your future and where you want to go.
Greater intimacy in your walk with Jesus? Possible.
A heart that aligns with the desires of God? Possible.
Overcoming that sin area of your life? Possible.
Fighting the temptation of gluttony? Possible.
Stewarding your body well? Possible.
Possible not because you have it ALL TOGETHER but because you have the power of Christ within you. Now we take responsibility for the goals and desires God has placed on our heart and move forward in obedience. As believers we can surrender our striving for the strength of the Holy Spirit that is working in and through us. That means that no matter what our goal is: we don’t have to do it alone BUT we must believe that we can because Christ CAN! This desire for obedience is an overflow or our love for Him.
He is able and waiting to give you everything you need to live a life of freedom found in discipline and surrender. But please hear this- THAT DOESN’T MEAN IT WILL BE EASY.
I think many of us believe the lie that if God is calling us to do something it should be easy but the reality is most of the time it is the opposite. Most of the time God calls us to do things that are way out of our comfort zone and will require us leaning on Him in order to see them come to fruition. Why? Because if we could do them on our own without God, where would be the reliance on Him?
I think about this a lot in regards to motherhood. Sure- disciplining and raising Godly children isn’t easy but that doesn’t mean we just throw in the towel. Instead we press on and press into the Lord. We ask Him for the strength and for the eyes to see where He is working and who we are becoming in the process.
So how can you start believing you CAN make changes in your life?
- Ask God every single day to give you the strength and discipline to show up in the area or habit you are trying to cultivate. When I first started working out I asked God every day for a desire to workout today and that I would find joy in it.
- Ask God what He is teaching you in the struggle and consider journaling your takeaways.
- Have a game plan. If developing your prayer life is something you have a desire to do, get a prayer journal and make it a goal to start with 10 minutes of prayer a day. If moving your body is something you want to do, make it a goal to go on a 10 minute walk each day. You just need a game plan so you can keep track of your progress.
- Get accountability and people in your life that have developed that habit. They may not be on the same page in EVERY area of your life but look for someone who is a step ahead of you in the particular area you are trying to develop and cultivate.
- Share your goals and check in regularly with where you are. Share you goal with a best friend, spouse or other leader and ask them to hold you accountable to weekly or bi-weekly check ins to see how things are going.
There is more I could say, but next week we will dive into mastering the mundane. For now – I hope this excites you to be intentional with the culture you create and allowing the Lord to work in and through you in the areas where you desire growth and change.