Thursday, February 18, 2010

Discipline and Godliness

Dear brothers and sisters, we are all engaged in a life of discipline. Even our regular Lord’s Day worship is discipline. It is something we do regularly and repeatedly. Many of you are working on the Jonathan Edwards Disciplines for a season. This is well and good.

The apostles says, 1Cor. 9 24Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

So, it is good to discipline your body. If this is done for the purpose of disciplining your whole man towards godliness, you do well. But we all know many athletes that are disciplined in their particular skill who are not also disciplined to godliness. So, do not make the mistake of thinking that because you have any number of bodily disciplines, exercise or diet, or even spiritual disciplines, bible reading or even prayer, that these disciplines automatically make you godly. The disciplines should be used towards godliness but they ought not to be confused with godliness. Are you producing godly fruit?

The apostle says to Timothy, 1Tim.4:6-8 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. 7But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. 8For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

So, do your disciplines help you produce godly fruit? If not, they are of no earthly or heavenly use. Now, I do not despise disciplines whether purely physical or mental and spiritual. But we must examine the fruit thereof.

What is growing from your disciplines? Do they need pruning? Is your heart of humility and virtue being strengthened? Or are your disciplines producing a buffed and steely heart? If godly virtue and humility is not the fruit of your discipline, then repentance is the pruning needed to produce a heart of flesh.

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