My cousin had come for a visit one day, bringing her well-trained sheepdog, Flynn. He was well behaved and pleasant to be around, as he didn’t leave me concerned about being jumped on and leaving me with dirty paw-prints. Flynn’s behavior was the result of my cousin practicing and working with him daily on obedience.
I see spiritual significance in this concerning the believers’ life…not about dogs learning tricks, but about the importance of daily discipline. How important daily practice is in an increasingly influential world environment where unhealthy habits can be picked up almost unnoticeably if a believer is too careless.
Temptations in our lives, as an example, take daily resistance of those things that we know to cause unhealthy thoughts, actions and hindrances in our relationship with the Lord and with others.
A regular client at work comes to mind who seemingly had a wonderful Godly marriage. Unfortunately, he failed to take seriously the use of daily discipline from his temptations to protect his marriage. He continually didn’t avoid spending time alone with another female and as he later reluctantly shared, he had blindly become mastered by a lack of self-control. Two affairs cost him that original marriage and his relationship with his daughter.
On the other side of the spectrum is a friend who had been addicted to porn until the Lord had helped her take control over it. Every day required avoidance, in which she put into practice by rejecting urges she was feeling and avoided anything she could that would pull her back in, through the Spirit. After continual training, the temptations weakened and avoidance became easy… to this day she has remained the master over her former downfall.
I truly believe the differences between these two life stories are knowledge and understanding (and a lack of) about spiritual matters such as authority, being truly led by the Spirit and maybe even more so, a lack of truly knowing the Lord’s character.
There is such truth when the Lord says,
“My people perish for a lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6)
and the word perish is not limited to just a literal physical death. My paraphrase of this verse goes “The Lord’s people are deprived from having an abundant and victorious life when they have a lack of knowledge of the Truth and spiritual matters.”
We are capable through the Spirit, to walk victorious through anything, because the Word states that
“God has not given us a Spirit of fear and timidity, but one of power, love and self-discipline ~ 2 Timothy 1:7
We have a Spirit that gives us power and makes us capable of being victorious in discipline! Knowing that gift, if anything shows the generosity of the Lord! And having knowledge of the powerful Spirit we have been given, as well as understanding about following the Spirit’s leading.
Pray about daily discipline…for the Spirit IS capable of leading you to master any downfall or desirable discipline. It is then good, after learning something of spiritual matters, to
Keep putting into practice all you learned and received (Philippians 4:9)
Continue benefial practices or avoidance in personal areas that are unfruitful dispite how we feel at the moment, be it laziness, curiosity, etc. because every single time and day is significant, helpful, and beneficial!
“I keep on disciplining my body, making it serve me so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not somehow be disqualified” ~1 Corinthians 9:27