Discipline & Growth

Habits are the thought and emotional patterns engraved on our minds. These internal habit patterns play just as forceful a role as external influences on our actions – in fact, perhaps more so. –Jerry Bridges

My words or theme for this upcoming year are discipline and growth. These two things go hand in hand, for if I do not exercise discipline I know I will not see growth. For most of my life, before becoming a Christian and even at the very beginning of my life with Christ, I thought Christians grew in grace and piety by the work of the Holy Spirit. Meaning, I thought the Holy Spirit just transformed us with no work on our part. Obviously I was wrong. The Apostle Paul tells us we are to be constantly fighting against sin and putting it to death. Sounds like I have to get involved after all.

 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Colossians 3:5

I want to, in 2012, work with even more fervency, with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, to mortify the sins in my life. I know areas that are lacking, areas where the enemy knows I am weak. These are areas I need more discipline … Bible reading and prayer. The two cornerstones of Christian living!

Satan’s number-one objective is to destroy our joy of faith.  We have one offensive weapon: the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (Eph. 6:17).  But what many Christians fail to realize is that we can’t draw the sword from someone else’s scabbard.  If we don’t wear it, we can’t wield it.  If the Word of God does not abide in us (Jn. 15:7), we will reach for it in vain when the enemy strikes.  But if we do wear it, if it lives within us, what mighty warriors we can be! –John Piper

It’s so easy to slip into a complacent view of sin. I have noticed during times I neglect prayer and Bible reading my view of sin softens. I weep over sin less and less when I abstain from the prayer closet and God’s Word. And what a shameful thing. I want to hate sin like my Father in heaven does. I pray that I will not grow comfortable in this area but learn to see it more and more for what it is.

If Christ has died for me–ungodly as I am, without strength as I am–then I can no longer live in sin, but must arouse myself to love and serve Him who has redeemed me. I cannot trifle with the evil that killed my best Friend. I must be holy for his sake. How can I live in sin when He has died to save me from it? –C.H. Spurgeon

My prayer is God will grant me strength to be more disciplined this year that I might grow closer to Him and become, even very slightly, more like Christ.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. -Romans 12:2

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8 thoughts on “Discipline & Growth

  1. Like, like, like… discipline and growth and much needed in our every day lives. Great quote by Bridges, it is so true.

    Praying that this year we will keep encouraging each other to grown in the Lord and persevere in the Faith.

    XOXO

    Becky

  2. I pray that you have success with this. Discipline is very hard to get control of and there is always room for growth in that area.

    Love you!

  3. I would have to say that I agree with you, we must work with all our might to reach the goal of sanctification.

    However, I disagree with you saying that it is not all of the Holy Spirit. I know you mean that we cannot just sit back and watch the Holy Spirit work, but have to be actively involved, but even this desire to work for the glory of God and to run the race is a work of the Holy Spirit. It is from the well of grace that we draw our holy desires, our strength, and our ability to grow in sanctification. In this sense I would say that it is indeed completely the Holy Spirit’s work to bring about holiness in our lives. Those who the Holy Spirit truly resides in will surely be conformed to the image of Christ and will desire to work toward that goal.

    Praise God for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who doesn’t just help us become holy, he truly makes us holy. Anything good we do is a result of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is why we pray for our sanctification.

    I echo your desire for discipline and growth and pray that we will all be transformed by the inner working of our Loving God. I am striving with you sister!

    Love, Jessalyn

    • Jessalyn-

      Thank you for the encouragement and for expounding on the grace salvation brings all believers. I never meant to imply this desire was of my own doing (this is one reason I included the Spurgeon quote.) Most people that read me are familiar with my view that any good thing, not only me but anyone does/thinks, etc. comes from God alone. However, this is a public blog and I should have been more clear in that. If you browse my past posts you can see where I have wrote about total depravity so I assure you I am supporting no form of synergism here 😉

      However, some people who do say it’s all the Holy Spirit would deny any action on our part. The Bible clearly teaches we are to be actively involved in this daily pursuit of putting sin to death and running the race before us for the glory of God alone. Of course, only believers are capable of desiring these things because of the new heart we have been given which is all of God and all of grace! Without a new heart, we would still be in our natural state as lovers of sin and enemies and haters of God. It is Christ and His deeds that motivate us, never our own!

      Much love to you sister! 🙂

      • Amen, Amen.

        I just had to say something because of the line “I thought Christians grew in grace and piety by the work of the Holy Spirit” which is in fact true. I realize that you clarified it in the next sentence, but… yeah.

        I completely agree with you.

  4. Great post Hollie. The battle against just never ceases either! Ugh! Just going for a week without my daily routine of prayer and study causes me to start backsliding. God has to come after me about every 15 minutes!
    May you and your sweet family have a wonderful new year!

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