Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Disciplines of a Godly Woman

I must admit that, in my flesh, just reading the title of this book made me want to walk away. Discipline is never an enticing word. Just ask my two year old daughter. Whether we're two or 52, I'm afraid that big word with all the i's will always find us running away.

The one thing that does motivate me toward discipline is the Word. First Timothy 4:7 says, "Train yourself to be godly." The Greek word used for train is "gymnazo," which speaks volumes to me, having been a gymnast when I was younger. My schedule was non-stop when I was training for an upcoming meet. I would run laps before school and my coach would pick me up as soon as school was over and take me to the gym, where I stayed until 9 p.m. I'm pretty sure I did that four times a week. No only the time issue, but also the intensity factor plays into my understanding of what it means to really train yourself. We had coaches that made us sit out if we weren't giving it our all. As soon as we learned a layout, they were pushing for a full, as soon as we had the full, they were on us about doing a double. There wasn't an end in sight!

With that said, we do have the Lord's strength as we train and learn what it means to be disciplined in every aspect of our lives.

I've come to realize that there is a direct correlation between the discipline that's displayed in my life and the fruit that's borne in my life. I also think that we miss out on many blessings when we fail to respond to or initiate discipline in our own lives.

Like training for a gymnastic meet, it's essential to train consistently (daily), sacrificially, with passion and conviction, throwing off everything that hinders our progress. All this while keeping our focus on God and not ourselves. Sounds easy, right?

The areas of discipline are separated into chapters: Gospel, submission, prayer, worship, mind, contentment, propriety, perseverence, church, singleness, marriage, nurturing, good deeds, witness and giving.

One of the most helpful tidbits I drew from this book was in the very last chapter, pertaining to application. The author suggested making two lists from all the disciplines listed above. The first list is where you write down where you are doing well. Make the second list the areas where you need help and then number them in order of importance. Make suggestions as to how you can become more disciplined in those areas, pray and become accountable to somebody so that you can begin to see growth. I wouldn't recommend taking on too many areas at once because if you're like me list one is sparse and list two is pretty hefty. This really is a practical way to begin not only overcoming spiritual laziness in your life, but also in succeeding in your spiritual training and using that to bless the Lord and others around you.

I whole-heartedly recommend this book for study. Yes, there are study questions at the end of each chapter and if you just blow through the book without doing the study, you won't get the most out of this book.

Although it's a wonderful book that I highly recommend, it may not be the most exciting book to read since it goes into detail about all the ways you need to become more disciplined. That's never fun to hear. It's like telling you there's a hard road ahead and saying, "Now, let's get going!" Great! But, don't become overwhelmed! Just take it one chapter at a time and know we serve a God who desires to see us succeed and who is with us every step of the way.

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