“Fears, doubts and past failures all want to rise up any time you try to make hard changes.”
Swimming into the current takes faith. Faith in God and ourselves. When tackling something as powerful as smoking or insidious as Internet pornography, many have not the faith to see themselves in the end, free and happy. They simply cannot envision the light at the end of a dark, hopeless tunnel. The temptation of immediate satisfaction is too potent. Dieting is an excellent example of this. A recent study has shown that half of all North Americans are considered obese. Yet information on the diverse effects of obesity is everywhere, and the resources for weight loss are equally plentiful from fat blocking pills to calorie-reduced foods, but the most important ingredient to weight loss cannot be found on the grocery shelf. Discipline. The resolve may be there; the desire to become thin may consume, but if there is no vision and hope, and when the pain comes the attempt will fall to the floor. We must believe that the pain is worth the finished product, looking and feeling better.
Sustaining discipline must be rooted in vision. The single reason many are incapable of journeying fasting’s lonely path is they lose the vision of why they fasted in the first place. Present pain overpowers future glory. The image of themselves free, healed, self-controlled, and refreshed fellowship with God is lost in present cravings. The fast becomes empty and oppressive, a law instead of a joyous journey. I will never fast again, as it served only to discourage and belittle, not lift and build strength over an out-of-control flesh.
Does the very word discipline give you shudders of apprehension? Yes, discipline acts as a law to your flesh, but to be successful we must not forget God’s promises. They are the stuff from which dreams are made, injecting eternal hope into any attempt you make in overcoming the flesh. His promises make discipline possible, without them we are reduced to trusting in our own strength. While in present pain it is easy to lose sight of presiding grace. And grace always nurtures vision. "I can do everything through him who gives me strength (Phil. 4:13)." That is vision. And any time you feel you cannot do it, it is simply because you are looking at you and not Christ.
Fears, doubts and past failures all want to rise up any time you try to make hard changes. The highest act of discipline is to control your thinking. To believe you can. This is where we must fix our mind on Jesus. Without Him all our efforts fall to the ground and die. Without Him this would be just another useless positive thinking, self-help, inner awaking, get in touch with your feelings book. But because of Jesus, we can tap into an authority higher and more excellent than any addiction, granting even the weakest among us victory.
Discipline is an exercise of vision and faith. No matter how lost you feel in gaining control over your life, discouraged in trying to do anything against the cravings of the flesh, the Word promises that little you, in Christ, can do ALL things. Walking in discipline has nothing to do with how hard you try, but everything to do with where your mind is focused. That light at the end of the tunnel is none other than Jesus and He is with you in your darkest hour.
We know what it is to suffer for years in black hopelessness. The truths in this book come out of God meeting us in our darkest time. They work because they are living promises, filled with Holy Spirit power. You can become all that you and God want you to be because Jesus says so. The promises of God enable you to walk free in a fallen world. And you can fail as many times as you like, it will not change the promises of God for they are good and true.
Related Article: The Cost Of Discipline