Getting Down to Discipline
Discipline in the Christian life is not designed to make us holy, but to allow the holiness of the indwelling Christ to be expressed through us.
‘Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.’ (1 Timothy 4:7)
Christians are to discipline and train themselves, writes Paul, bringing their bodies into submission. The Pharisees would have agreed, for they were impressively disciplined people – but with a difference. The Pharisees disciplined themselves as a means to holiness, righteousness and keeping right with God. Christians discipline themselves to allow the indwelling life of God to be expressed through a responsive and obedient body.
It is possible to live in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, love God with all our heart and still keep falling in the same old sins again and again, not because we need more of God, but we need to teach our bodies obedience. The Holy Spirit’s presence within us puts the desire in our hearts, giving us the motivation to hunger and thirst for righteousness. That appetite within has to be expressed through our lives. Paul’s instruction to ‘train yourself in righteousness’ is to train yourself in obedience to the impulses of the Holy Spirit within and to discipline your body to obey His instructions in His word. The battle between the ‘flesh’ and the Spirit is essentially a spiritual one. The ‘flesh’ generally refers to our natural selves, all that we are apart from God, but it may also refer to the literal ‘flesh’, the body, which is also an area of battle and struggle, hence our need to train ourselves in godliness.
How is your training going? Are there areas that need specific attention?
Bible in one year: Psalm 74 | Numbers 30