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The Place of Personal Discipline
Scripture: Proverbs 27:20; 1 Timothy 4:7; 2 Timothy...
Track 6 of in the series
Running time: 56 minutes, 31 seconds.
Solomon tells us that the eyes of man are never satisfied. Every time we say yes to temptation, the harder it becomes to say no the next time. We must recognize that we have developed habit patterns of sin. These habits must be broken but they never will until we make a commitment to a life of holiness without exceptions.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

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The Place of Personal Discipline Last week we ended with the thought about how committed we are in really wanting to be successful in our personal pursuit of holiness. We have to deal with the question, Am I willing to give up a certain habit or practice that is keeping me from holiness? Most like to dally with sin, to try and play with it a little without getting too deeply involved. Many have the “one more time” syndrome. All this adds up to postponing the day of commitment, the day we say “Enough” to sin. Proverbs 27:20 Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are the eyes of man. Solomon tells us that the eyes of man are never satisfied. Every time we say yes to temptation, the harder it becomes to say no the next time. We must recognize that we have developed habit patterns of sin. These habits must be broken but they never will until we make a commitment to a life of holiness without exceptions. But is it possible to establish convictions regarding a life of holiness, and even make a definite commitment to that end, yet fail to achieve the goal? We may determine by God’s grace to stop a particular sin habit. But too frequently we find that we don’t succeed. We fail to reach our goal. The problem I think is this: True or False: There is no such thing as instant holiness. I would love to be able to list on the screen three easy steps to holiness. All of us could take them next week and be holy. The problem is, holiness doesn’t come that way. An important way to obtain holiness is through Christian discipline. But what is the problem with the concept of Christian discipline? In our society today, discipline seems counter to our emphasis on freedom in Christ and often sounds like legalism and harshness. But notice what Paul has to say about this. 1 Timothy 4:7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. Notice in this verse that Paul tells us that we are to train to be godly. The figure of speech he uses comes from the physical training that Greek athletes went through. There are many scriptures in the Bible that indicate that discipline is structured training. The Webster’s Dictionary defines discipline this way, training that molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character. This is what we must do if we are to pursue holiness. We must correct, mold and train our moral character. So where does the discipline toward holiness begin? It begins with the Word of God. Without knowing God’s Word and using it for training, you will fail in your pursuit of holiness. Read 2 Tim. 3:16 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. The last item mentioned is training or discipline in doing righteousness. This is what the scriptures will do for us if we just use them. Memorizing scripture plays a big role in our discipline in holiness. It also allows the Holy Spirit to work with our heart and change it because we buried the scriptures there and the Holy Spirit will help us use them in situations when tempted. Ephesians 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Paul says we were taught to put off our old self. When were we taught to do this? Only in the Word of God are we taught this. So discipline toward holiness begins with the Scriptures – with a disciplined plan for regular intake of the Scriptures and a disciplined plan for applying them to our daily lives. To do this well requires that we cooperate with the Holy Spirit and allow Him to do His stuff with and in us. The Holy Spirit has already done a good part of the work by providing us with the scriptures to discipline us. And as we learn them, He will faithfully bring them out to our minds, as we need them to face temptations. He will work in us to strengthen us. But we must respond to what the Holy Spirit has already done if we are to expect Him to do more. True or False: It is possible for some people to follow God and not know His Word. There is a direct connection to holiness and learning the Word of God. I believe it is impossible for a person to follow God and not know His Word. We need to schedule regular times in the study of the Bible. Satan will always attack us at this point. He will always try to get us to do something different. This is where discipline comes in. We must discipline ourselves to do it and to arrange our schedules so nothing gets into the way of our studies. Let’s think about how much time we have to study God’s Word in our lives. In all the hours of your day, how much of it do you devote to studying God’s Word? Or how much time in a week or a month? A disciplined intake of God’s Word not only involves a planned time, but a planned method. I was taught that a planned method and time started with the following basics. It is a neat formula to use and start with. You need to have the five basic ingredients in your basic spiritual diet: • Hearing the Word of God (Jeremiah 3:15): Taught by our preachers and teachers • Reading the bible ourselves (Deut. 17:19) • Studying the scriptures intently (Proverbs 2:1-5) • Memorizing key passages (Psalms 119:11) • Meditating on God’s Word so I can apply them to my life when confronted with temptations. I always teach a new Christian or a person to start out by tithing his or her time for Jesus like we would do with our finances. I truly believe that once we start this, God will prosper you in your spiritual wealth like he does with your financial wealth. What am I talking about? God gives us 24 hours each day to live our lives. Basically our average lives are broken down into three groups of 8 hours: 8 hours to sleep – I have to have this to get my rest 8 hours to work - I have to have this to make a living and take care of the needs of my family 8 hours of our own time – I don’t have enough time with what I have left Many will say that you can’t hold me accountable for the first two 8 hour periods. But lets just start with the final 8-hour period. This amount of time a week is 56 hours. The tithe of that time a week is 5.6 hours a week which less than 1 hour a day. But let’s plan one hour a day for learning God’s Word and see what that does. Structured training in holiness is a life long process. In order to be successful, perseverance is a necessary ingredient of discipline. We have to be aware that any training – physical, mental or spiritual is characterized at first by failure. We fail more often than we succeed. But if we persevere, we will gradually see progress till we succeed more often than we fail. This is especially true as we seek to put to death particular sins. Failure can be a good thing and it isn’t necessarily something God looks down on. He knows how valuable failure can be to us and allows us to learn from it. Proverbs 24:16 for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity. In this verse, what is the difference between the man that falls 7 times and the wicked man? The righteous man rises again. He doesn’t quit. In our pursuit of holiness, we must realize that we will fail at times, but the disciplined Christian doesn’t quit trying to pursue holiness. He just continues on trying harder to be successful for God. But dealing with failure is a hard thing. We see in Romans Chapter 7 the struggle Paul had with his failure. Romans 7:14-20 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. Important principle: Paul is stating a truth to us here, the more we see the holiness of God and his law revealed to us in scripture, the more we recognize how far short we fall. As we grow in knowledge of God’s holiness, even though we are growing in the practice of holiness it seems a gap between our knowledge and our practice always gets wider. This is the way the Holy Spirit draws us to more and more holiness.