Be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. Titus 1:8
H. Jackson Brown Jr. said, “Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know [where] it’s going.” Too many of us are torn in too many directions, and our self-discipline breaks down in the chaos.
British writer Lin Wills suggests that a disciplined life begins with our daily quiet time with the Lord. “The regular disciplining of ourselves to spend that quality time with God will reap great benefits, but there are times when we need more discipline than at others, depending on how many distractions there are, and how many other things are filling our minds at the time. The more we determine to press into God’s presence, the more we will want to do it.”
Leading a disciplined life requires training ourselves to be disciplined in our personal routines, to develop our spiritual skills, and to do what is needed to complete the task in front of us. Thank God for giving us all we need to be disciplined and to live a life of godliness.
We have everything we need within us to walk a disciplined, victorious walk with God.Lin Wills
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.Proverbs 15:1
Ever had a close encounter with a rattlesnake? If so, you might have noticed that the sound of the rattle seemed to get more intense as you moved nearer to the viper. Research in the scientific journal Current Biology reveals that the snakes do increase their rattling rate when a threat is approaching. This “high-frequency mode” can cause us to think they’re closer than they are. As one researcher put it, “The misinterpretation of distance by the listener . . . creates a distance safety margin.”
People can sometimes use increasing volume with harsh words that push others away during a conflict—exhibiting anger and resorting to shouting. The writer of Proverbs shares some wise advice for times like these: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). He goes on to say that “soothing” and “wise” words can be “a tree of life” and a source of “knowledge” (vv. 4, 7).
Jesus provided the ultimate reasons for gently appealing to those with whom we enter into conflict: extending love that reveals us to be His children (Matthew 5:43–45) and seeking reconciliation—“[winning] them over” (18:15). Instead of raising our voice or using unkind words during conflicts, may we show civility, wisdom, and love to others as God guides us by His Spirit.
King Solomon is traditionally considered the author of Ecclesiastes. According to Scripture, he was the wisest man who ever lived (1 Kings 3:12) and had wealth beyond imagination. What’s more, he was blessed with the privilege of building God’s temple. So we might expect that he’d have been content.
In searching for that deep fulfillment, Solomon explored all kinds of things. Ecclesiastes tells us that he indulged in the pleasures of the world, even dabbling in pursuits he knew were folly. But the satisfaction Solomon sought evaded him, so he tried another avenue. He undertook great projects, such as building houses, gardens and parks, and an extensive irrigation project (Eccl. 2:4-6). But in the end, he concluded it was all without meaning. The story has a familiar ring, doesn’t it? Our culture pursues pleasure and does not accept limits on its passions.
Solomon had the wisdom and resources to accomplish whatever he chose to do. Yet the goals he pursued brought no lasting satisfaction. He concluded that the best course was to obey God (Ecclesiastes 12:13). True enjoyment comes when we align ourselves with His will. Any other way is meaningless.
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” (Ephesians 3:20)
Despite man’s arrogant pride, he is utterly unable to save himself or to make himself acceptable to God. Neither is he able to keep himself saved nor, above all, is he able to defeat sin and conquer death.
But God is able! The word “able” (Greek dunamai) is closely related to the word for “power” (Greek dunamis), both speaking of God’s spiritual dynamics. He is all-powerful, His ability is without limit, and His power “works in us”!
Therefore, “he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him” (Hebrews 7:25). Because the gospel of Christ is the “power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16), God “is of power to stablish you according to my gospel” (Romans 16:25).
Even when great troubles and sorrows and temptations come, He is able. “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18). He “is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 1:24).
In fact, He is able to meet every need of our lives and even to use us in His service. “God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
Finally, “he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). That day will surely come, but then He will give us bodies of glory, for “he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:21). HMM
...Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh….If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. —Galatians 5:16, 25
The Holy Spirit is a living Person and should be treated as a person. We must never think of Him as a blind energy nor as an impersonal force. He hears and sees and feels as any person does. He speaks and hears us speak.
We can please Him or grieve Him or silence Him as we can any other person. He will respond to our timid effort to know Him and will ever meet us over half the way.
However wonderful the crisis experience of being filled with the Spirit, we should remember that it is only a means toward something greater: that greater thing is the lifelong walk in the Spirit, indwelt, directed, taught and empowered by His mighty Person. And to continue thus to walk in the Spirit requires that we meet certain conditions.
These are laid down for us in the sacred Scriptures and are there for all to see. POM135-136
The highest point of Christian experience is to press forward. It is a distinguishing trait in the character of every good man, that he grows in grace. DTC185
The upper room has been described as “the birthplace of the church.” Certainly it was there that power was loosed which changed the world. Some commentators believe that the upper room was part of someone’s home—someone sympathetic to Jesus and His ministry. Why did the Holy Spirit come upon the disciples in a home and not in a sacred place such as the temple? If the Holy Spirit had come upon them in the temple, then His coming would have been associated with a sacred place, sacred services, or sacred occasions. The Holy Spirit came in the most common of all places—a home—as if He was saying, “I am here not just for’sacred’ occasions, but for all occasions, for all of life.”
One writer said in commenting on the ordinariness of the upper room, “The Holy Spirit is not a spiritual luxury to be imported into the unusual, but a spiritual necessity for the usual.” He is to be the pulse-beat of all we do—the usual as well as the unusual, the ordinary as well as the extraordinary. In the coming of the Holy Spirit, the ordinary and seemingly insignificant things of life are touched with divine significance: every bush is aflame with the glory of God, every moment is packed with eternity, and every contact we make is part of His perfect purposes.
O God, I am so thankful that I don’t have to wander from sacred place to sacred place in search of Your power and Your glory. You come to me just where I am until my heart glows with Your shekinah glory. Amen.
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves.”—Matthew 11:28–29
If you find that Christianity exhausts you, draining you of your energy, then you are practicing religion rather than enjoying a relationship. Jesus said that a relationship with Him would bring rest to your soul. Your walk with the Lord will not make you weary; it will invigorate you, restore your strength, and energize your life.
Hard work or lack of sleep can make you tired. This fatigue can usually be remedied by a good rest. But there is a deeper fatigue that goes beyond physical tiredness. There is an emotional exhaustion that comes from experiencing heavy burdens and draining crises. There is a tiredness deep within your soul that comes from carrying the weight of the needs of others. You can go on a vacation, but your soul will not be restored. This condition can only be rectified by finding rest in Christ.
Some zealous Christians want to do all they can to serve Christ, and they exhaust themselves in the process. It was to these that Jesus extended His invitation to go to Him and learn from Him. Jesus spent most of His earthly ministry surrounded by needy multitudes. He faced relentless opposition, He often prayed throughout the night, and He rarely had any privacy, yet He always received the rest and strength that came from His Father. It was not that Jesus did not work hard but that He knew the path to spiritual rest. Are you weary? Go to Jesus and let Him give you His rest. His rest will restore your soul as nothing else can.