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Psalms 81:16

He would have fed them also with the finest of wheat; and with honey from the rock I would have satisfied you.”

Deuteronomy 32:13

13 “He made him ride in the heights of the earth, that he might eat the produce of the fields; He made him draw honey from the rock, and oil from the flinty rock…

Dear Friends and Family,

This month we will begin a new series on the importance of discipline and self-control.  Our base Scripture for this teaching is in Romans:

Romans 8:1-8

There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.   For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace.   Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

In all of Scripture we find the principle of self-discipline.  God’s design for man was that he be ruled from the inside out by the Holy Spirit.  This involved man’s willingness to yield to that rule.  Where there is no internal rule, then there must be external rules and laws or the world would be in chaos and people would be destroying themselves and others.  But external rules were never God’s best.  Self-government or self-control is the control restraint, or direction of ourselves in our hearts, attitudes, thoughts and behavior as directed by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.  Self-government or self-control is a fruit of the Spirit.  The more we yield ourselves to the Spirit, the more we focus our lives on things above, the more we spend time in fellowship with God in prayer, worship and the Word, the more disciplined we will become in spirit, soul, and body. 

 Romans 12:1-2says:

“I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, and perfect.”

We are the ones whose responsibility it is to discipline ourselves to present our bodies and spend time and effort to renew our minds with the Word of God and prayer.  This is the labor to enter into the rest of God. 

 Discipline is the Greek word “paidea“.  It is a noun, and it means to tutor, to educate, or to train.  It also means disciplinary correction.  Webster’s Dictionary describes discipline the same way with two added definitions:

1. To advance and prepare by instruction  2. Subjection to laws, rules, order, precepts, or regulations.

Hebrews 12:5b-14:

My Son do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.  It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  But if you are without discipline of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.  Furthermore, we had earthly fathers who disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good that we may share His holiness.  All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

I think this verse very aptly fits the definition in Webster’s Dictionary: “to advance and prepare by instruction.”  The Lord wants to bring us to maturity.  Without discipline, we remain immature and fleshy. 

1 Corinthians 3:2-3

I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it.  Indeed, even now yare are not yet able, for you are still fleshy…..

When we walk in the flesh we cannot receive the meat of the Word.

Hebrews 5:13-14

For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the Word of Righteousness, for he is a babe, but solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good from evil.

It is the will of God for us to reach maturity. 

Ephesians 4:13

….until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

This process takes discipline and self-control.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may win.  And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things.  They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  Therefore, I run in such a way as not beating the air; but I buffet my body and make it my slave lest possibly after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.

Although God’s mercy and forgiveness are always there, we need to be careful not to take it for granted.  The riches we have in Christ through the forgiveness of our sins came at a great cost and we should value those privileges and blessings in our lives.  Like Paul we should be running the race for Jesus.  Our hearts and minds should be fixed on Him.  We are so easily sidetracked and distracted by the cares of this world that sometimes we lose sight of our priorities.  We should be running this race to win, making no provision for the flesh, but keeping our spirits, souls, and bodies disciplined in all areas.

Proverbs 29:18

Where there is no vision, the people perish, but happy is he who keeps the law.

Visionis a Hebrew word meaning a revelation from God

Perish comes from a root word meaning to loosen, to slip away

Happy is a Hebrew Word meaning happiness and blessing

Where there is no fresh revelation of God and His Word, the people begin to loosen, get slack and lazy, and begin to slip and slowly fall away from the intimacy of their relationship to Him.  But when we have fresh revelation and a living daily fellowship with the Lord, we have happiness and blessing from God.  We’ve all had much teaching concerning patience, steadfastness, hope, confidence, and the importance of God’s Word in our lives.  All these things take discipline to walk in.  Without discipline and self-control you can’t be steadfast, without discipline and self-control you can’t be patient, or have hope, or hold on to your confidence. 

1 Timothy 3:5

But if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?

This is speaking of elders and deacons, but the principle applies to our individual lives as well.  For we are, after all, the temple or house of God.  If we can’t manage our own person with discipline and self-control how then can we take on any other responsibilities in God’s house? 

James 3:2

For we all stumble in many ways.  If anyone does not stumble in what he says he is a perfect man able to bridle the whole body as well.

A key to discipline and self-control is to watch your mouth.  When we can learn to discipline our mouths, discipline of the rest of us will come much easier.

Romans 6:12-13

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

The responsibility to refrain from sin is yours and mine.  God has given us all we need for life and godliness in this world.  Jesus has conquered sin and death for us.  He has given us the Holy Spirit to dwell within us to guide, to teach, and to comfort and convict.  We have to discipline ourselves to obey.  Adam was given this same responsibility to govern himself in Genesis chapter 2.  Adam, as we know, did not govern himself.  He allowed the flesh to overcome him even though he had the power and authority to overcome it.

Proverbs 16:32

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.

Controlling your temper is being controlled from within by the Holy Spirit.  If we can control ourselves from within we can have the victory over every area – through faith and patience we inherit the promises and in patience we possess our souls (mind, will and emotions). 

Proverbs 25:28

Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit

In Bible times cities were protected by their walls.  These walls were high and very thick.  So thick that houses were built on top of them.  These walls protected the city from invasion by enemies or wildlife.  This scripture is telling us that if we are people with no self-control, no self-government, no self-discipline, then we are like that city out there in the desert wilderness with no walls; invaded by all predators and no way to protect ourselves.  We are open to every attack, every enemy that would come to kill, steal, and destroy, and every wild beast that would care to enter to destroy us and all that is in our care.  Self-discipline is the walls of our city, the protection for our being.  Those who have been trained by it will yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness in their lives. 

 The Kingdom of God is not meat or drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  Discipline yourself to enter the Kingdom.  Remember James said that no discipline is pleasant at the time you are receiving it, but if you will yield to it it will bring forth the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

 In His Love,

Solid Rock Ministries