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Narrow is the gate and narrow is the road   Leave a comment

matthew-7-vs-13-14.jpg

 You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.  But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.

While I was meditating on this verse, I wondered why Jesus wanted to put emphasis on the narrowness of the gate and the narrowness of the road that leads to God’s Kingdom. Sure enough, these verses are not saying that God is playing hide and seek where only a few elite explorers can find Him. This is a verse about faith and perseverance. While reading this verse, I remembered an experience I had in France. I had to be there 2 weeks for work and on the day I landed I thought it would be good if I could spot the workplace on the eve since I had to be there early the next morning. So I googled the workplace and walked in the directions indicated. I managed to get on the road that led to the workplace but the building numbers were not easily identifiable. I asked people if they could help me identify that workplace but they either did not know or misled me. I soon realized that the building numbers followed an odd numbering pattern and this is why I could not sequentially identify that building. Finally, I found it and realized that I walked passed that gate several times. This was a big company and I wondered why there were no big signs or clear indications. How come people did not know it was there? That gate was not huge and the road I walked through was not as wide as the Champ Elysées but a narrow one way road. I understood later on that this building was rented by that huge company and it was not their headquarters.

To get back to our verse, people unconsciously expect that the gate that leads to God’s Kingdom would be attractive like the pearly gates or the golden road as described in the book of Revelation 21. However, this is not the case. Jesus said He is the only Way (John 14:6) to Heaven and the sheep’s gate (John 10:7). For many people, it just does not make sense that Jesus is the only door to Heaven or the only way to be saved.

“How can a crucified Messiah be the Savior of the world? Jesus claimed to be God, how could He die on a cross? Can anything good come from Nazareth (John 1:48)? “These are some logical reasoning that blur people’s vision on how to get to heaven.

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! …But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense” 1 Cor 1:18-24

Google Map showed me where my workplace was but my logical reasoning and people misled me. The bigger the idol or bigger the worship place and the more people think God’s presence is there.  Man’s wisdom and intelligence is often incompatible with God’s and this is why few ever find the Kingdom and ever pass through its door. It’s only through faith in Jesus’ sacrifice that we can enter God’s Kingdom!

On one side, there is a highway that gives a pleasure ride to hell. It’s an easy path and the gate to its destination is so well crafted and designed that one might be knocking at the gate of hell thinking he has finally reached nirvana or the reward of good karma. Since millions of people take that easy and broad road, many convince themselves with this argumentum ad populum, that they must surely be right. It’s a deceitful religious belief that doing good works will result in good karma – this is man’s invention to have a clear conscience. It makes man self-centered instead of God-centered.

The road is very narrow and difficult Jesus said. Believing in Jesus is taking the right way to God’s Kingdom however many give up before reaching their destination because the road is no longer convenient to them. They are like the soil who received the Good News but on the way gave up, lost focus or no longer considered the Sheep’s gate attractive. “Many people are taking the easy way, why should I abstain“, they ask?

The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. ” Mat. 13:20-22

Christians should be careful that they do not let themselves entangled by the things of this world, social status or the lure of wealth for these are deceitful roads.

Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them.  And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor.” 2 Tim. 2:3

Jesus would not have said that the road and the gate were narrow if it was not true. Are you on such a road and heading towards such a gate?

Understanding the width, length, depth and height of the Love of God   Leave a comment

Eph3

that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Eph. 3:17-19

Rooted and founded in love

Paul used the words ‘rooted’ and ‘grounded’ probably to illustrate 2 concepts.

  1. Plants which are deeply rooted in the soil get the appropriate nutrients, grow and blossom. This is the same when one is rooted in God’s love – that person grows,emancipates, is fulfilled and satisfied.
  2. A house that has a firm foundation will also remain strong and stable even during calamities such as hurricanes or floods. So is the one who has as foundation God’s love – Christ. Even during tough times, Christ’s love keeps that person serene, stable and strong. The Greek word used here for ‘Love’ is of course Agape love – God’s love. This alone can fulfill the soul of man. God is love and He created man to love and experience love. One not rooted in God’s love will tend to draw its roots towards other kinds of love such as Eros(Marital), Phileo(Friendship) or some unhealthy sources affections to fuel the soul. These kinds of love are incompatible with what the soul seeks. A spouse will never be able to fulfill the soul of his partner with ‘Eros love’, nor will friends with ‘Phileo’ love , nor relatives with ‘Storge’ love and never will the pleasures of this world. It is a gross mistake to believe that if you lose everything but still have your spouse or family or your best friend then it’s going to be ok. Your spouse, friends or relatives have flaws and limitations and they should never be the foundation of your happiness.

Many people are depressed, feel unloved because they have been abandoned by their parents, cheated by their spouse or betrayed by their best friends. As they have been deprived from healthy sources of affections, they turned to pornography, fornication, adultery, drugs or other kinds of addictions.

That you may be able to comprehend with all the saints

The translated Greek words used here is exischuō katalambanō which means ‘rendered thoroughly able to understand/seize/attain the agape love’. Paul explicitly mentioned these words to ensure that the readers fully understood that God loved them. Some years ago even though I was a Christian, I believed that Jesus died for my sins but did not associate it with an act of love. Thus, I did not experience the love of Christ as the saints did because I ignored it and did not consider it as real. It is essential for a Christian not only to know but to be immersed in the love of Christ.

The width and length and depth and height

Paul used measurement characteristics in order to depict a boundless love. It is a love which when you try to measure it in any perspective, you will not reach an end.

This is indeed a mysterious love that when you consider:

  • How deep it is that it caused God almighty to give His one and only Son(John 3:16).
  • How large it is that He forgave the sins of all individuals no matter how gross their sins were “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2.
  • How high it is that it  “his unfailing love toward those who fear him
        is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth” Ps. 103:11.
  • How wide it is that “ He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” Ps. 103:12

To know the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge

The translated Greek word ginōskō for ‘know’  makes allusion of being aware or acknowledge that the love of God is infinite. It is vital for a Christian to know that God’s love is not just a verb but a mysterious science that is boundless in all dimensions.

That you may be filled with all the fullness of God

Thanks to God that this verse does not end there! We are not only expected to know that such a mysterious love exists but also called to experience it.

Among all the great sayings in this prayer, this is the greatest. To be Filled with God is a great thing; to be filled with the Fullness of God is still greater; but to be filled with All the fullness of God, παν το πληρωμα του Θεου, utterly bewilders the sense and confounds the understanding. – Adam Clarke

God’s love brings fulfillment to the soul, it really makes us complete and it is unfailing. It is the kind of love on which we can draw our roots to and never be harmed. It will never fall short to meet the needs of our soul. This is a godly love that only does good to the soul, mind, body and spirit. This is a love on which we can lay a foundation upon, it will never end (Lam. 3:22, Ps 136) and is unfailing (Ps 103:11).  The scripture further reassures us that  demons, angels, calamities or anything in all creation will not be able to “separate us from the love of God” Rom. 8:38-39

An analogy of Christ’s love for the Church

The scripture also describes Christ’s love for the church as a mystery. Christ gave his life for the church and so should be the servant-attitude of the husband towards his spouse.

For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word..this is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.” Eph. 5:25-32

The scripture reminds husbands that they should love their spouse. This is something known you may say. However, this is always a good reminder because at times husbands cease to love their spouse when there’re difficulties and even think about quitting or divorce. Paul even goes further by saying that the husband should love his wife as Christ loves the church. This is what differentiates Christian marriages from others. Several marital problems would be resolved if this verse was put into practice. When a husband tasted the boundless love that Christ has for His body – the Church, his heart will overflow with love towards his wife. The wife and the husband became one body when they joined together. When a husband hurts his wife(physically or verbally), he is actually hurting his own body. When a husband loves his wife, he is actually loving himself. Paul gives no conditions for the husband to love his wife, he only gave a reference – Loving as Christ loves. Even if a husband does not feel loved by his wife, he should not cease to love her. He should love her as Christ loves the church. Christ still loves the church even though the latter is often unfaithful and sins so should the husband imitate Christ’s attitude(Phil. 2) by forgiving when offended and always be clothed with love (Col. 3:12-15)

 

 

Posted August 15, 2018 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it   Leave a comment

John 12:49

John 12:49

The words spoken by Jesus were carefully chosen. What He said, where He said His teachings and how He said them were all orchestrated by God. The teachings delivered on the mount, in the synagogues, on the boat, in Jerusalem or outside Jerusalem were all tailor-made for the hearers. Jesus was not taken by surprise when He saw a crowd gathering and wondered “Well, what am I going to teach to these folks today?” At times Jesus would say that it was not yet His time to go to Judea or Jerusalem (John 7:1-19) because He had an agenda prepared by God to accomplish His mission.  He wanted the people to know that His message was from God above.

But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.” John 12:48-50 NLT

The peoplewere surprised when they heard him. “How does he know so much when he hasn’t been trained?” they asked.So Jesus told them, My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me. Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies.” John 7:15-18

John the Baptist testified:

He testifies about what he has seen and heard, but how few believe what he tells them!  Anyone who accepts his testimony can affirm that God is true. For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit.” John 3:34

God Himself testified

This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him” Mark 9:7

Jesus said that if we love Him we’ll keep His commands but He also said : “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?” Luke 6:45

It is therefore essential to live the talk.

Not only was Jesus mandated on what to say but He was also indicated precisely on how to say these teachings. For instance, the way Jesus rebuked the Pharisees in(Luke 11:37-54, Mat. 23, Mat 15:12) was not out of uncontrolled anger or impulse. The way Jesus acted with them was the very expression of how God felt. The Pharisees were offended because of what Jesus said and started to plot on how to kill Him.

These teachings were long prepared in God’s counsels and revealed through Jesus. God Himself came and spoke through His Son (Hebrews 1). When the prophets delivered to Israel God’s message, they did so with the best of their abilities but still imperfectly. This is not the same with the Son as He communicated exactly what God intended to say.

Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God” Hebrews 1

This is why we need to pay careful attention to what the Son said since God judged severely those who disobeyed the law of Moses.

So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak? ” Heb. 2:1

It is no wonder that the guards said “We have never heard anyone speak like this!” John 7:46

How can you not be stunned when you hear a man claim that He is the Vine and that his disciples are the branches and if someone does not remain in Him and in His Words, he will perish. He said that apart from Him we cannot do anything, that He is the Way to the Father, the only Truth and the Life. He said He is the bread of life. To the immoral woman and the paralytic man He said ‘Your sins are forgiven’. Jesus’ words were Spirit and life(John 6:63) but many did not understand or refuse His teachings because their heart were evil.

I have read the epistles of Paul,John, Peter and James and learned much about the church and was enlightened about several doctrines. But when I read the Gospels, I can stare for a long time at those words Jesus said and think about them what and how He spoke for days. The teachings He delivered and how He taught them had an impact on my intellect, emotions and attitude.

Jesus foreknew that His teachings and what He did would be preached throughout the world and He had to deliver them perfectly. He said:

I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.” Luke 26:13

John overwhelmingly said:

We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life.  This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. ” 1 John 1

The words of Jesus transformed lives and still do the same throughout the world. It is essential to take the time it requires to unpack the teachings of Jesus and ask questions like why He said He was the Vine,  how He spoke to the Pharisees or when did He decide that it was time to go to Bethany to meet Lazarus. My job often requires me to reuse or modify codes that other programmers wrote. It is essential for me to understand why the programmer used a particular approach to provide a functionality. Similarly, every words spoken by Jesus had its reason. He is the Word of God made flesh and there is none beside Him who could speak God’s words.

Jesus said that if the world hated Him because of the Words He spoke, the world would still hate his disciples who remind of the Words He said(John 15:18-20).

Jesus’s message was clear: If you’re not with Him, you’re against Him (Mat. 12:30). He is the only way to God, the only truth and the source of life. If someone does not trust in Him for salvation, He is going to hell.

Reminding the world of Jesus’s message will cause disdain. People will be offended, say you’re pretentious, biased or stupid. Paul had to face this dilemma when he met with scholars and intellectuals. He had to speak of a Messiah who claimed He was God, died on a cross and rose again. Yet Paul was not ashamed of this Good News.

For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes” Rom. 1:16

If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.” Luke 9:26

 

 

 

 

Posted June 16, 2018 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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I Am the Alpha and Omega [Part 3]   Leave a comment

Alpha

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” Rev 22:13

7. Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation—every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened. The land produced vegetation—all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed-bearing fruit. Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.

God did not populate the earth once with animals or plants. He gave the possibility to the millions of species He created to do it themselves through reproduction. Some trees can produce more than 1 billion seeds which in turn would produce massive number of plants and seeds.

Vegetables, fruits and plants were to be the main or only aliment that would feed the whole population of humans and animals(Genesis 1:29-30). In this vegetarian world, animals were not created to eat animals nor animals created for man to eat them.

So in the beginning everything that grew was useful and the job that God gave to man was to cultivate the garden of Eden which apparently had the most appealing plants(Gen. 2:15). I like fruits and I planted quite a few seeds of fruits I like to eat. I live in a fertile region and it is not necessary to add stuff to the soil. It is a pleasant experience to see the seed change to plant, grow and bear fruits in abundance. On the other hand, it is not an enthusiastic experience to constantly remove useless herbs, thorns or thistles. It is a sad experience to harvest fruits that have been attacked by pests or to notice that the seeds did not germinate despite having cleanse and plough the land . Before the fall of man, the soil was in perfect state and plants could fastly multiply to feed humans and was suitable for all kind of animals. Probably, the curse in Gen. 3:17-18 reduced the amount of vegetation required to feed animals and man thus causing animal to eat others and man to eat them. Famine for instance is a direct result of man’s sin. Another clue we have is that it was only after the flood that God allowed Noah to eat flesh(Gen. 9:1-4)

The earth’s rotation completed and it was the third day.

8. Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years.Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth.” And that is what happened. God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set these lights in the sky to light the earth, to govern the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good

Imagine how the world would have been if there was no concept of time. We would not be able to set meetings where everyone could meet together, make time-based contracts or scientific experiments. The absence of light allows the earth to cool and living creatures to rest, its presence allows photosynthesis to occur and provides vision. A lot of scientific reasons could be given to explain the importance of having the presence or absence of light. Time reminds us that we’re mortal beings and we’re on earth just for a moment. Our watches have been calibrated to tick at regular intervals in order to complete the 24 hours at the same time the earth completes its rotation. On the first day God said “Let there be light” and here God talks about these celestial bodies that would be used as reference to indicate days, seasons or epochs. As long as the earth rotated only on its own axis, there could be only day and night. There could not be seasons or visible signs such as eclipses, summer, winter, autumn or spring. Probably, the earth started to revolve around the sun at this point in time thus causing the phenomenons of seasons and signs in the sky.  Without the moon or the stars we would have had darker nights. Even though stars provide little light, they have been sufficient signs for navigation in ancient times.  The earth’s rotation completed and it was the fourth day.

Posted February 14, 2018 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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I Am the Alpha and Omega [Part 2]   Leave a comment

Alpha

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” Rev 22:13

The first book and verse of the bible, Genesis 1:1 starts as this:

1. In the beginning ,God!

The author in his introduction clearly puts the first thing first by talking about the Alpha.

The word ‘God’ here refers to the Hebrew word ‘Elohim‘ which implicitly indicates a plurality of persons(The Trinity) in the divine nature.

2. Created the heavens and the earth

The word ‘created’ used here refers to the Hebrew word eth which signifies a particle or the substance of something. As mentioned earlier this word eth is constituted with the first and last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It may be understood that God created the elementary particles or substances that would constitute the heavens and the earth.

3. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

The word formless and empty suggest that the earth was unshaped and ‘unset’. It seems that the mass of particles were scattered, mixed and were not constituting the earthly materials we see today thus leaving a ‘chaotic’ and disordered state. The Spirit of God was hovering over this dark and chaotic world.

4.Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.

We may deduce here that when God created the heavens, He also created the sun, the stars and the whole universe. Notice here that God called the presence of light day and it’s absence night. Thus we may understand that the earth started to rotate on itself causing evening and morning. This rotation of the earth was the means used to enable man to count the days, months, years and epochs. When the morning came, it was thus the first counted day.

5. Then God said, “Let there be a space between the waters, to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth.” And that is what happened. God made this space to separate the waters of the earth from the waters of the heavens. God called the space “sky.”And evening passed and morning came, marking the second day.

We have seen in verse 2 that the earth was without form and there was emptiness. The materials constituting the ‘sky’ were likely mixed with the waters and earthly materials. God therefore settled this emptiness in its place. This emptiness or space is what we call the ‘sky’. This sky would also contain water in gaseous state in the form of clouds, humidity or vapor what would later be used to transport water to any remote places. Without this system of transportation(water life cycle) animals, humans and plants would have died as almost 97% of the globe’s water is found in the seas. The earth’s rotation completed and it was another day.

6. Then God said, “Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear.” And that is what happened. God called the dry ground “land” and the waters “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

The disordered state mentioned in verse 2 is hereby described in verse 9. Imagine what a muddy state the earth was when the waters and earth were mixed together! So God ordered all the waters to one place, the seas. The retreat of all the waters eventually left space to dry ground – what we call land. 71% of the globe is covered with water.

This proportion of three-fourths water may be considered as too great, if not useless; but Mr. Ray, by most accurate experiments made on evaporation, has proved that it requires so much aqueous surface to yield a sufficiency of vapors for the purpose of cooling the atmosphere, and watering the earth – Adam Clarke

Posted February 1, 2018 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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I Am the Alpha and Omega [Part 1]   Leave a comment

Alpha

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” Rev 22:13

The book of Genesis starts with “In the beginning” and the book of Revelation talks about “The End”. The concept of time started for the world at creation and it will become void after the destruction of the world and the creation of the new heaven and earth(Rev 21), which will subsist for eternity. We have few information what will happen after the destruction of the world and even less information of what happened before the beginning of the world.

Jesus did not only mean that He was from the beginning and will be till the end. He is really the start or initiator of what we call beginning and end. This implies that He was before everything existed and will even be after everything created cease to exist.

This is what He said:

I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One”   Rev. 1:8

From start to end, Jesus is the expression of God’s will. In analogy, from A to Z, α to Ω (Greek), א to ת (Hebrew) or any language that words can be expressed.

It is worthy of remark, that as the union of א aleph and ת tau in Hebrew make את eth, which the rabbins interpret of the first matter out of which all things were formed – Adam Clarke

John said: “In the beginning the Word already existed.The Word was with God,and the Word was God.He existed in the beginning with God.God created everything through him,and nothing was created except through him

No wonder, Jesus is called the Word of God(Rev 19:13). It was Jesus’ name or title before He came to earth. Jesus is the executor of God’s will or simply put – The Creator. He is the author and cause of all things that is visible or invisible whether on earth or heaven(Col 1:16). God’s Word is the means through which God’s thoughts have been translated ,are translated and will be translated into existence.

This is what God said to the Jesus:

He also says to the Son,In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands.” Heb 1:10

God just spoke and it came to be(Ps 33:9).

“Let there be light”, and there was light! Genesis 1:3

“Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Mark 4:39

“Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared (Luke 5:13)

Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed (Luke 7:7)

Posted February 1, 2018 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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The discipline of the disciple   Leave a comment

A disciple of Christ is one who submits himself/herself to spiritual, mental and body discipline.

Discipline is an exercise done to self or others to instill growth. It involves, heart, mind, body and soul. If the discipline exercised on others is not done out of love or for good reasons, it is considered being “controlling”, “abusive” and “dominant”. Self-discipline is a sign of maturity since no one is required to keep us training as we can do it ourselves. A child requires to be disciplined because he/she has no experience of life and need training.

Paul said: “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” 1 Cor. 9:27

Think about an athlete Paul says. An athlete is disciplined at the time he exercises. He has strict control on the food he/she eats and is mentally ready to take up a new challenge each day to attain his goal. Discipline is essential to have a healthy family, body and relationship with others. James says that one who is able to discipline his tongue is a perfect man. Paul advised Timothy to exercise spiritual discipline as it is both beneficial for spiritual and body health. Paul said to Timothy that it requires discipline to be godly.

On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”1 Tim. 4:7

In order to give what it takes to God,our family and ministry, it requires to be disciplined in the way we manage our time. Discipline spares much trouble because you’re not only doing the right thing but also the thing right.  Discipline is the pathway to do what you know is right even if you do not want to do it. It is of course easier to talk about discipline i.e. how to eat, how to exercise than actually doing it. I experienced that disciplining  myself in a particular area of my life was difficult in the beginning but after a few months it became a habit. When self-discipline becomes a habit in different areas of our life, we become more diligent and mature. Spiritual discipline therefore results in spiritual maturity (Eph 4:13).

When someone finds it difficult to discipline self to exercise, he/she looks for a coach in a gym to get him/her training. Nutritionists give strict diet to obese people to help them improve their health. How then can a Christian be helped to be spiritually disciplined? God presents Himself as a Father who disciplines His children(Heb 12:6). God uses the bible, life circumstances, the pastor or a mature Christian to discipline us.

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work” 2 Tim. 3:16

Our attitude to discipline will either result to maturity or rebellion. It is a painful experience to exercise a body which has not been training for years. So it is when a Christian has not been living a disciplined life for years. He’ll either give up and continue in his sin when chastised or endure the corrective actions until he becomes spiritually fit.

Training several hours a day is not difficult for a world class sprinter but might cause a heart-attack to a one time runner. Living a disciplined life is a decision. Many take that decision to be disciplined in one particular area of his/her life but finally give up after a few days. It requires perseverance for discipline to become a habit. Think about it, if you’ve been able to discipline yourself for 6 months in a particular area of your life, you’ll most likely be able to do it for 1 year and eventually for your whole life if it became a habit.

The body murmurs about waking up early or exercising when the weather is cold outside. The body complains because it has to wait for the food to be cooked when its hunger could immediately be satisfied through a fast-food. Self-discipline allows a man and woman to exercise self-control on their sex drive and spare them much trouble.

One obvious result of discipline is patience. Adam Clarke defined lust as “I want it now!”. This is a childish behavior of wanting everything immediately. Impatience is therefore a sign of immaturity. Vegetables which grow at their own pace are healthier than those which are forced to grow fast through fertilizers. Better things take time and are usually more valuable.

Veggies are not always as tasty as junk foods but healthier.Physical exercises cause body pain but keep the body fit. Restrictions on expenses cause discomfort but protect self and family. So it is with discipline, it causes pain and discomfort because our flesh naturally seeks for pleasure. Do you want to exercise self for the purpose of godliness?

 

Posted August 29, 2017 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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