From Discipline to Delight

iscipline to delight
God designed us for His enjoyment—He enjoys us, and He wants us to enjoy Him. The trouble comes in when we are not enjoying what God enjoys. It is important to remember that in the moments when we do things that God doesn’t enjoy us doing, He does not stop taking delight in us. His love for us is constant and unmovable.

Often times, God will have us do something we don’t enjoy. This takes self-discipline, and that isn’t fun. But self-discipline is part of the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5.

The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
-Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

Strange that self-discipline is considered a fruit. I mean, discipline seems like work to me. However, I believe than as lovers of Jesus, we can enjoy self-discipline. God wants to bring delight to our discipline.

Delight in Discipline:

1. Put your heart in it.
Contrary to modern philosophy, we should not follow our heart. We should lead it. Some assume God isn’t in what they are doing because their heart isn’t in it. I believe that if God wants us to do something, then we need to figure out how to get our heart in it. We put our heart in the matter by investing time, energy, mental space, emotions, and even money into our project. Sometimes the only way to get your heart there is to dive in with everything else until your heart follows.

2. Establish values.
Normally when we think of discipline, we think of doing something we don’t want to do. Discipline might be defined by doing something I don’t want to do now for what I do want later.

Our purpose in life is not found in doing what we enjoy, but in all we do enjoying God. The greatest value in my life is living a life that honors Jesus. That can only be done by life in Spirit. (Rom 8)
How am I investing in what I value most? What we want later has to become more valuable than what we want now.
We can find joy in whatever we are doing, even if it is something we may not enjoy now, because we are enjoying Jesus in the process. This is one of the ways we walk in the spirit!

"Our purpose in life is not found in doing
what we enjoy but in all we do enjoying God."

3. Develop vision.
Don’t just have a vision for your life and future, have a vision for what is in your hand right now! Where there is no vision the people perish (Prov 29:18), having vision in the areas of your life that you do not enjoy so much will actually add life to the mundane. If it’s a job you hate, don’t just punch the clock, develop some vision, set some goals, and as you start to see success in that area it will bring enjoyment!

I need to lose 15-20lbs. That is a goal, not a vision. My vision is to look better for my wife and to be healthy for the rest of my life. Therefore, my goal is to lose the weight. Often times, I don’t like going to the gym, however, I still go and rarely skip. Once I’m at the gym, I kind of like it. I didn’t at first, but because I have done it for almost two years, devoted myself to the process, and have a vision it adds a since of enjoyment to the process.


Emotional Awareness

Emotionally aware
When I was as younger, I would say things that made light of people’s feelings, insinuating that feelings were not valuable. Out of my youthful zeal, I would even say, “God doesn’t care about your feelings.” Well, that’s not true. God absolutely cares about our feelings! He, in fact, made us emotional beings. Therefore, He wants us to have good and healthy emotional experiences.

It’s important to remember that feelings are not the meat of life,
they are the seasoning of life, enhancing or hindering our experience!

As leaders, we need to be aware of the way people feel. We should be sensitive, sympathetic, understanding, and loving towards people regardless of the fact whether their feelings are warranted or not.
This doesn’t mean that we make important decisions based on the emotions of others (or in some cases our own), because that could fall into man pleasing really quick. When we make emotional decisions, it doesn’t just mean we are being sensitive, it means we are immature. Yet we need to be aware of the emotional life. Our job isn’t to make sad or mad people happy, but to make sick people well. Sometimes hurting feelings is part of the job, especially when bringing to light the truth of a matter. Truth can be very painful yet liberating at the same time. We cannot always control the way people feel, but we can always control our approach as we lead others and speaking into their lives.

Three things to remember in being emotionally aware:
1. The Truth

The truth sets us free. The word of God is powerful to deliver people and it is sharp so we should correctly handle it.

2. In Love
Ephesians 4:15(NIV) ...Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

3. With Grace
Colossians 4:6 (NASB) Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.

“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”
― Maya Angelou


Vulnerability: A Door To The Heart


One of the deep cries in our culture is the need for authentic, real, genuine relationships. I love that social media allows me to be able to see how—and what—my friends are doing. I like to see what has transpired in their lives since the last time I saw them in person. However, the human need for authentic relationships is not met by how many social media friends I have, or by how many likes or comments I can generate on my latest post. Social media is a great supplement for human connection, but it cannot replace physical interaction. We are all designed for and want human connection, a connection with skin on, and you can’t fulfill that desire on a screen.

One thing you don’t normally see on the highlight reel of a social media timeline is vulnerability. Just a few moments ago I took 4 pictures of my coffee and spent probably 3 minutes working on the staging of that pic. Why? Perhaps I think that if I get the perfect angle or add the perfect filter, I can generate more likes and enjoy the 30 seconds of delight that it gives me. My life is not enhanced by that at all.

Last weekend I shared at a men’s breakfast with about 10 men. I shared a short message, then got really vulnerable and real with them about my journey. My heart was stirred, theirs was as well. There is something about sitting across them sharing the ups and downs of my walk. The equity I get from my post fails in comparison to the conversations at the breakfast. Vulnerability opens the door to the heart.

Here are a few thoughts on vulnerability:

1. Vulnerability is not emotional vomit.
Gossiping, complaining, and griping is not vulnerability. They are sins. There is a grave difference between describing another persons behaviors and talking about your feelings and the tensions you are dealing with. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people justify gossip under the banner of “I’m just being real.” Maybe what you need to do is deal with the bitterness in your heart and be more self-controlled? Being vulnerable is about “you” not somebody else.

2. Transparency is sacred.
We all have issues. I don’t tell everybody everything, nor should you. There are things my wife knows about me that nobody else does. She is the only one who should know those things. If I tell everybody everything, then there is nothing sacred about my trust or my transparency. You need to develop trust before you share the deepest parts of your life. The more we trust, the more we share. As a rule, I only share deep things with people that can help me with deep things. We must have these people in our life. We were never meant to carry the weight alone.

3. Be real, and let them be too.

I’ve found that when I am authentic with people, it reciprocates.
When we are wrestling with an issue and we go to somebody about it, we are going for help. Sometimes believers are quick to impose the standard and not offer a hand to help. This is one of the issues we see with Jesus and the religious leaders. In most cases, Jesus had the same standard as the religious. The difference was that Jesus helped the person through the issue. Jesus didn’t point to the standard and tell the hurting to reach it, he lifted them to it. (See John 8:1-11)
When we don’t let people be real we force them to be fake.

Being vulnerable is important. Knowing the difference in when and whom to share with is vital. When we are able to open up in areas that we are hiding due to shame, we will start to get freedom in that area. Be prepared: to be vulnerable where you need to be, and gracious when someone deems you the person they see fit to be vulnerable with.

[if you have this time this is a powerful video a
Ted Talk on The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown]

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