1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (AMP) 24 [a]Do you not know that in a race all the runners run [their very best to win], but only one receives the prize? Run [your race] in such a way that you may seize the prize and make it yours! 25 Now every athlete who [goes into training and] competes in the games is disciplined and exercises self-control in all things. They do it to win a [b]crown that withers, but we [do it to receive] an imperishable [crown that cannot wither]. 26 Therefore I do not run without a definite goal; I do not flail around like one beating the air [just shadow boxing]. 27 But [like a boxer] I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached [the gospel] to others, I myself will not somehow be disqualified [as unfit for service].
Discipline is our friend, not our enemy. We can make discipline a bunch of rules to follow and turn into a judgmental ninny or we can use discipline to make ourselves better. Spiritual disciplines are so important. You cannot measure spiritual discipline. Spiritual discipline is really about love. Spiritual discipline is a means to an end to be changed into the person you want to be in Christ.
1 Corinthians 8:1Amplified Bible (AMP) 8 Now about food sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge [concerning this]. Knowledge [alone] makes [people self-righteously] arrogant, but love [that unselfishly seeks the best for others] builds up and encourages others to grow [in wisdom].
If you measure spiritual maturity by daily devotion – you might see yourself pretty high up. The question is how is your relationship with God? How are you at loving others who are different than you? Daily devotion is only a part of spiritual discipline. If we read the bible and do not apply it in our daily lives, those words are basically useless to us.
Colossians 3:14 (AMP)14 Beyond all these things put on and wrap yourselves in [unselfish] love, which is the perfect bond of unity [for everything is bound together in agreement when each one seeks the best for others].
Discipline is a tool God has given us to help us be who God wants us to be and who we want to be. There is a difference between trying to do something and training to do something. In life we are pretty much in a training program for life. When we train we have to arrange our lives around practices that show God’s love. We can try to live life right – but when we try on our own we will find frustration. When we train to live life, let God be our trainer. We can use prayer and the Word of God to train us to live our lives the way we should.
A disciplined person is not someone who just does a lot of disciplines – a disciplined person does what needs to be done when it needs to be done – putting aside their personal feelings. You can’t master discipline without experience. In other words reading about love is not practicing and experiencing love. Reading about not gossiping and preaching to others about not gossiping is not the same as not gossiping. We have to train through practice to do the things we want to do to live beyond how we feel. We will make mistakes and fall short – but don’t let that stop you from pressing forward!
Ephesians 4:22-24 (AMP) 22 that, regarding your previous way of life, you put off your old self [completely discard your former nature], which is being corrupted through deceitful desires, 23 and be continually renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh, untarnished mental and spiritual attitude], 24 and put on the new self [the regenerated and renewed nature], created in God’s image, [godlike] in the righteousness and holiness of the truth [living in a way that expresses to God your gratitude for your salvation].
If you would like to accept Jesus as your savior, and you are not quite sure how, it is as simple as saying a prayer to God letting Him know you are ready to accept Him into your life. Say this prayer if you would like to invite Jesus to live in your heart:
Father God, I love you and believe in you. I need you Lord and I am sorry for my sins and the way that I live. Lord, I want you in my life. I receive Jesus as my savior and Lord. I believe that Jesus died for me and rose from the dead. Lord take me as I am and make me the way you want me to be. God, thank you for saving me and being with me on my journey. I am looking forward to my journey with you Lord. I know you will equip me for my journey and I am glad I have you by my side as I walk this walk of Life. Thank you Lord, I love you. Amen