Spiritual Change Requires Discipline

I have quoted before from "Godliness Through Discipline", the booklet written by Jay Adams (founder of NANC and CCEF). When repenting from a life-dominating sin, radically amputating the ungodly areas in our lives over and over again, by God's grace, is the key to overcoming.

Christian author Nancy Leigh DeMoss writes:

"I can remember sitting in tiny, windowless practice rooms for hours on end as a college student, playing the same piece of music over and over again. I knew I would never reach my goal—to make beautiful music—without that rigorous discipline.

Discipline for the purpose of godliness is not the same as self-effort. Rather, it means consciously cooperating with the Holy Spirit—yielding to Him so He can conform us to the image of Christ.

The problem is, we want the outcome without the process. We want victory without the warfare. It is futile to pray and hope for spiritual change, while sitting glued to a television set or neglecting the means God has provided for our growth in grace. Bible study, meditation, worship, prayer, fasting, accountability, and obedience are disciplines that produce a harvest of righteousness in our lives.

Who or what are you worshipping today? Also, what area of your spiritual life could use some discipline? Why not call a friend and ask them for a little accountability?"

(Me again...) God is the Vinedresser (John 14), and He prunes whatever is unfruitful out of our lives so that we may be MORE fruitful for Him. If you have an area of besetting sin in your life, what are you doing about it? It is important to pray and ask God for help; but crucial that you not stop there.

What tools has God given us to aid in our fight against indwelling sin? The most important one is, of course, the Bible. It is His Word, and the only way in which He has revealed Himself to us in these days. If you are seeking Him or His Truth elsewhere, whether in a secular therapist's office, a "12-Step" support group, or universalist teachings on the Internet, please stop.

Get Offline and Into the Prayer Closet

I cannot tell you how many ladies I have counseled (formally or informally) who rely more on their online "friends" (who will tell them what they want to hear) than on the Word of God. I cannot get these ladies off of Facebook long enough to open their Bibles! They waste hours and hours online or in front of the TV, yet never have time enough to seek God. If this is you, please repent. I am not saying you necessarily should delete your Facebook account or do a complete audiovisula "fast", but ask yourself: where do I spend the majority of my non-working hours? If you are spending more time online (the Internet, and "Christian bulletin boards" in particular, are rife with bad theology and false teaching), ask yourself, "Has this helped or hindered my walk with God? Am I growing in holiness due to my online interaction?"

Another instruction we are give is to take up the Sword of the Spirit. How does this affect one's battle with a food addiction? Well, the Bible speaks repeatedly about "lusts of the flesh". I relate this concept in some depth to bulimia and gluttony in my book, but the bottom line is that carnal self-indulgence is "sowing to the flesh" (Galatians 6:8), which Paul contrasts with "sowing to the Spirit". The latter will result in eternal life; the former, corruption.

Fortified with prayer and armed with knowlege of the Word, you are better prepared to "stand firm in the faith" (1 Corinthians 16:13) and resist temptation. The Scripture you have stored up and hidden in your heart comes back as a fortifying, sustaining promise at the moment you feel yourself slipping; the hours spent playing Farmville on Facebook will do nothing for you.


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