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May 13, 2003

Cut It Out

Proverbs: 13:4
The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.

Immediately I'm reminded of the words of John, "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, even as your soul prospers" (3 John 2). There is something really important about keeping my mental and emotional life balanced and healthy. It has real benefits. But I was struck by this word "diligent." How does being diligent contribute to my well being? In other places it is translated "sharp," describing the condition of a knife. I began to think about the stuff that needs to be cut out of my life. That is one of the reasons for my current fast - to "starve" some stuff out of my life; to cut it off and cut it out.

I wonder if the difference between the "diligent" and the "lazy" is the attention given to what needs to be "circumsized" from one's life. I know that while I have been very hard working in so many areas in my life, it began to feel like I didn't have the energy to deal with some of the areas God was bringing to my attention in my spiritual life. But even today, in this moment, the "sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" is cutting away things that would keep me sluggish and lethargic.

If my soul if going to prosper, than I must be diligent to give it the attention God asks for - to cut off and cut out the things that hinder my health and growth. If not, I could get to the point of feeling so overwhelmed I would feel unable to ever change - living my life in a fantasy of what I wish I could be but having nothing.

June 18, 2003

Provision, Preparation, Revelation, Assignment, Reminder

I Kings 19:13
Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

I've allowed a couple of days to slip by without being in the word - days, that I've come to discover, I could not afford to miss. Because when I feel the pressure, I need the Word to keep me anchored, much like Elijah in this passage.

Elijah's life has been threatened by Jezebel, so he runs. As he runs, he whines (v.4), taunting God to do the very thing he was afraid Jezebel would do. That's often the the case when people feel threatened. Instead of facing a challlenge or confrontation, we run. Then we kind of accuse God of instigating the whole thing. God rpovides Elijah with sustinance and gives him a word about what is ahead - "the journey is too great for you." (v. 8).

After Elijah's journey to nowhere, God meets him where He finds him - in a cave, withdrawn and weary. God knew where to find Elijah and helps Elijah to find Him, not in the big stuff but in the small voice (v. 12). God graciously allows Elijah to get stuff off of his chest. Instead of directly confronting Elijah's pity party, God give him something to. An assignment to get his mind off of himself and engaged again in life (v. 14-15). I wonder how much stuff of the stuff that God gives me to do is His way to move me out of my cave? Finally, God reminds him he is not alone.

I need to be reminded of these things. God will resources me for the journey because he knows where I will end up and knows what the result will be. I need to be reminded that God speaks in the whispers. And I need to be aware that some of what He give me to do is to move me out of the isolation I have retreated into to be reminded that I am not alone.

July 31, 2008

Taking out the trash

2 Chronicles 29:15-16 (NKJV)
And they gathered their brethren, sanctified themselves, and went according to the commandment of the king, at the words of the LORD, to cleanse the house of the LORD. 16 Then the priests went into the inner part of the house of the LORD to cleanse it, and brought out all the debris that they found in the temple of the LORD to the court of the house of the LORD. And the Levites took it out and carried it to the Brook Kidron.

This passage is a little too close to home. About 3 months ago, we had to do this at New Life. Nothing had been "defiled," but long term neglect to putting stuff away (either organized or trashed) resulted in things piling up. On Monday of this week I had to take some time to reorganize my garage. A summer's worth of activity resulted in things not being put back into place. It just took some time to clean up. I followed that up with cleaning out my closet, getting rid of some old clothes; stuff that was worn or just didn't fit anymore. Actually, I need to do the same in my office now too.

There's a tension that I live in: when things are busy, my life gets cluttered. Things don't get put away, and if left too long it gets dirty. On the other hand, when I have too much time on my hands I get distracted. I'll procrastinate and leave things undone. That's why these "spring cleaning" times are a regular part of my life, not only in the natural, but the spiritual as well. Right now I'm in the "search me, try me, lead me" season (Psalm 139:23-24). It feels like everything is cluttered and I need to get in there and ask the Lord what needs to go. There are some things that need to be put back in place (my daily disciplines for one) I want to be clutter free...and sanctified for His service.

February 11, 2010

Prohibition

Leviticus 10:8-10 (NKJV)
Then the LORD spoke to Aaron, saying: 9 “Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, 10 that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean,

Observation:
This directive is given after Aaron's sons died while fulfilling their priestly duties, presumably while intoxicated. Thier actions followed thier dedication unto the Lord for their assignment as priests.

Application:
My Mom grew up at a time when Christians avoided alcohol, makeup, and movies. My dad got saved as an adult while in the army and experience a pretty significant change in his lifestyle. This means that while I was growing up we never has any alcohol in our house. Then I grew up. The culture of the church had become much more permissive. The external demonstrations of "holiness" didn't have the same requirements of the past. Certain actions (in my circle of believers) such as cigar smoking, wine tasting, and lager not only became acceptable, but "trendy" as an exercise in christian liberty.

I do believe that we have freedom in Christ. We are not required to live restricted by man-made legalism. Yet there are God-ordained restriction imposed on the life of a believer. And there are old permissions and actions that I can let go of the more I take hold of Christ. As a Christ-follower, I am (we are) a part of a "royal priesthood" (1 Peter 2:9). And the most important skill that any disciple must have is the ability to distinguish between what is holy and what is not. That skill must be continually applied internally, in evaluating one's self; my motives, choices, and actions. If I take my role as "priest" seriously, there are prohibitions will I choose to live. I cannot afford to be impaired in my ability to make distinctions between what is "clean and unclean, holy or unholy." Whatever impacts my ability to make those moment by moment, life-changing evaluations needs to be not just restricted, but removed from my life. If they are not, it could cost me my life.

Prayer:
Lord, I don't want any part of my life to be impaired. Help me see the things in my life that I am "intoxicated" with, so that I can really walk in freedom and fulfillment.

February 25, 2010

Antidote to Default Living

Leviticus 24:12 (NKJV)
Then they put him in custody, that the mind of the LORD might be shown to them.

Deuteronomy 12:8 (NKJV)
“You shall not at all do as we are doing here today— every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes—

Observation:
These verses in context really have nothing to do with each other. They just caught my attention. The passage in Leviticus is telling the story of how Moses deals with a man who has blasphemed God and decides the appropriate punishment. In Deuteronomy, Moses is describing the how the Israelites will worship when they possess the Promised Land. Although there isn’t anything that would connect these two situations to each other, but there is important insight for me that link these two verses together.

Application:
In the scene presented in Leviticus, a man had blasphemed God. Instead of rashly reacting, Moses resists the pressure to something immediately and creates an opportunity to hear from God. In the end, Moses’ ruling on the violation ends up being the result I had anticipated – the man was put to death. The issue for me is how Moses came to the decision. Instead of allowing the emotion of the moment to force the issue, he created space – space to clear his head and heart, so he could hear from God. Even though we could have anticipated the outcome, Moses did not presume. He stepped back and let God judge, and then obediently moved towards the right resolution. This reinforces to me the idea that the right process always produces the right outcome.

In the other story, God’s people are in the awkward “not yet” stage; they are not yet set up for the way it will be. This forces them to have to make adaptations. And in this context, God allows them some leeway to work things out the best way they know how. That “way” (of worship) in this passage is described as “every man doing right in their own eyes.” My paraphrase of this is “everybody did the best that they could in the circumstances they were in according to the understanding that they had.” But the thing Moses was pointing out was that although this was permissible for now, it was not to become the pattern or process that was going to be acceptable in the next season. In my life there are times that God allows me some leeway in the way I do things – as long as it works, He allows it. But just because He allows it now, doesn’t mean it’s the acceptable or even preferred way of doing things. What I do is allow the exception God allows to become the default behavior. Just because it works for today, doesn’t mean I have permission to do it this way all the time.

The overall thing I get from today’s reading I that I need to continue to push back my reactionary or default lifestyle. I need to not assume that what I’m doing is acceptable or right, even if I have justification for it. There is a way that God has for me to live. He wants me to know His mind on things. It’s my responsibility to understand the season and situation I’m in, so that I can know His mind and instructions for me.

Prayer:
Lord, let me know your mind and instructions. Let me not live by default. I want to live intentionally obedient in every situation.

About Discipline

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to JustJeff | Life Journal in the Discipline category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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