The ease of Self-discipline

As I sit here reflecting on how much self-discipline I used to have before I came to follow Christ it makes me wonder why I struggle with it so much more now. I mean, if self-discipline is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and the Spirit now abides in me then self-discipline should feel even more natural in my life now, right?

When I tell you I had self-discipline, I really mean it! There was a time after my divorce that you may would have thought I had been trained in the military I was so strict. I woke up early enough to work out. Counted every calorie that went in my mouth and it was only healthy foods for the most part. I walked or ran during my work breaks. When I came home I cooked my son supper and we sat down for homework. Then it was tv time, showers, and bed. Wake up the next day and do it all over again! This went on for quite a few years and I was very satisfied with this routine. I was in the best shape of my life since junior high and after a very chaotic time of my life had come to an end it really felt good to be in control.

I believed in Christ then but I certainly was not a follower. That showed up in other horrible decisions I made because I could not see the wrong in them. That is another post for another time, though. And you all know when the time is right and God gives me a good word over it then I will share it. God demolished my shame when He redeemed me and I am forever grateful.

So, now, here I am feeling so undisciplined. I feel so out of control. Life feels chaotic once again. Now that I follow Christ, what gives? What in the world is going on? I went that many years so self-disciplined and I know how wonderful it feels then why am I now struggling so hard?

Let me hit you with what God has hit me with. Self-discipline was easy before because I was luke warm with God. I was not living my life for Him and didn’t feel like I needed to. I felt like believeing was enough. The enemy knew this about me. He knows that me and many, many others strive for success in certain goals in our lives. Maybe it is a fit body and lifestyle. Maybe it is financial. Whatever your “thing” is that you can compare to my struggle then think on that as you read this. We long for that insert goal and the ability to make that happen so much, and if he takes away the struggle to achieve that while we are NOT living for God then we will live not realizing how much we need Him. We will live blind with our only focus on how well we are achieving a goal on our own and feel like God really has nothing to do with it.

The enemy will let you succeed without a huge struggle so you won’t realize how much you need God.

This is how I know God loves me. He introduced struggle back into my life. Even while I was enjoying living without Him because the enemy made it so easy to do so, God allowed chaos back into my life. Now, before you start thinking how mean God is let me explain something to you. This chaos that was allowed back into my life was actually consequences to those bad decisions I told you I made earlier. God didn’t create the chaos but He allowed me to feel the weight of the consequences of my sin. He did this in His perfect timing. He knew exactly the amout of choas I would need that would make me realize that I need Him. The enemy was able to blind me from it for a while but when God said “Enough” the enemy had to listen. See, the enemy really has no control beyond what he is allowed to have. That is also a whole nother post for another time.

I used to fear losing that “peace” I had in my life. I quite enjoyed that smooth sailing I thought I was doing. I feared having chaos again. I wanted to believe I had been set free from that! But truly being free of something does not leave you fearing its return. And living in that fear is no way to live. Your peace is short and you find yourself deeper in sin trying to chase that peace again. You search in all the wrong places to find that lasting peace when the eternal solution is staring you right in the face and you can’t even see it.

But when the Son sets you free. You are free indeed. John 8:36

So, what does this mean for my self-discipline? Well, it means I must rely on the Spirit for it now. The enemy is no longer stepping back and just letting me have it. The flesh is weak and feels every bit of the temptation and pull to live an undisciplined life and I haven’t been doing so hot with that, but God loves me too much to leave me here. He is bringing it back on His terms and His timing and I am learning so many glorious truths about Him in the process!!

I am so thankful for the chaos that sent me back to Him. I am so thankful that He has taken away the fear of chaos in my life. I have chaos. It is here. And you know what, I have no idea where it is going or when it will end. I have no idea how it will all end up. And when some chaos ends I am sure more is about to begin. That doesn’t scare me anymore. I have peace in the midst of chaos. I have been set free indeed.

Friend, maybe you have been living smooth sailing for a while and now suddenly it seems like everything is falling apart. Maybe you felt like you had it all together even while keeping God on the back burner of your life. And maybe, right now, you are feeling the weight of your consequences. I am here to testify to you that God is calling. He is calling to set you free from the wages of sin and to walk you through the consequences of them so you can come out the otherside strong in your faith with no fear of the future. Get to know God so you can truly believe and trust in all of His promises to you and be set free!

🔹️God goes before you.

Deuteronomy 31:8
“The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

🔹️He has good plans for you to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

🔹️He provides rest for the weary.

Matthew 11:28-30
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

🔹️God has a plan for it all and it is good. Even when it doesn’t feel good right now.

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

🔹️Fear not. He is with you. He is your God.

Isaiah 41:10
“Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Refined by the fire

I am in the middle of many uncertainties. What makes it even worse is I have been here before and never thought I would face this type of uncertainty again.

This really feeds into my blame game routine. At the heart of it all, I blame myself. I am responsible for my consequences and my stinking thinking makes everything consequences from a mistake I must have made.

If I was to put myself in the story of Job then I would be the friend that was asking him what he had done to deserve such a fate. Except I say it to myself.

I can also compare myself to the diciples who once asked Jesus why the blind man was blind. Was it a sin he did or maybe a sin of his parents? Except I start pointing blame wherever I can for the circumstances.

I know the truth, and my Spirit is willing to hear it. But this flesh has gotten the better of me lately and has left me depressed and maybe a fit of panic here and there. Bitter roots are forming and resentment is real.

I know God will walk me through everything and this fire I am going through is here to refine me and not consume me.

But my flesh says “seriously? You know this is your fault, right? Your obedience was quite lacking and now you want to cry through the consequences. Do better and this wouldnt happen.”

These thoughts leave me feeling so far from God. Like He is disappointed in me. The enemy sure knows how to twist truth into lies. Like a roaring lion he sits and waits for a weak spot to show itself and he digs in.

These are the times that I am thankful for the Spirit guiding me to study His word so consistently for the last few years. Not only do I know where to go to renew my faith but I have His truth written on the tablet of my heart. So when the flesh starts spewing its lies that still, small voice comforts me. He pulls me out and sets me on the solid rock. The bible studies I was so obedient in following has led to an arsenal of truth to fire back at the flaming arrows the enemy has directed at me.

I am not alone. I am not unloved. Even if noone on this earth loved me…He does and what more would I need? Except even then, He gives me more. He gave me a whole church family that shows me love and would come into this battle with me in prayer, no questons asked. That leaves me thankful for that still, small voice that instructed me to get back in church consistently a few years ago as well.

So, if today you are also in a sea of uncertainty let me fill you with this truth. God is good. He wants only what is good for you. If He is burning away what wasnt from Him right now then rejoice. He will restore you to His will and plan. Hold on to that hope. This, too, shall pass and if you let Him refine you then it will not consume you.

I am reminded of David who wanted to build a temple for God. God told him a temple would be built but it would be for his son to build it. Since David couldnt build the temple he decided to stock all that was needed to build it so his son would have all he needed when it was his time to build it.

I feel God telling me, “I see you want My ways and you want to change and grow your faith. That is my Son’s job. He has sent His Spirit to change, grow, and guide you. The only thing you are to do is stock your arsenal with the tools and weapons that are needed. He will rebuild you.”

Yes, a weak spot has been exposed. Yes, the enemy took notice and dug in on it. But God knew it was there all along. He will use that enemy to refine me. I will not be consumed by him because I am already consumed by Him. Where I am weak, He is strong and His power is about to be made very evident in my life. Amen!

Put your armor on soldier. Build up your weapons. Stock that arsenal. He will do the rest.