We have friends who tease Tracey and I because we live our lives in, what some might call, a regimented manner. For instance we generally go to the grocery store on Monday nights, and some will say things like “Oh, you can’t do such and such because it’s grocery night.” Of course we don’t take offense to this type of thing, but if the truth was told we would say the reason we go on Monday’s, rather than another night, is because “WE’RE OUT OF FOOD!” I know, I know it’s crazy, but we only buy enough food for a week at a time so when Monday rolls around it’s time to buy more.
I thought of this today as I listened to an elderly woman talking about growing older. She emphasized the importance of self-discipline. She said it was extremely important and besides look at the alternative. When you live your life with no self-control you only have chaos, frustration and disorder to look forward to.
Sometimes others criticize us because we are “scheduled” in how we do things. They will say this type of thing implying that we are rigid or we can’t ever change our plans. I suppose this depends on what commitments we have made and how faithful or trustworthy we want to be. If I don’t care how my life affects others, and their schedules, then I don’t have to follow through on my commitments. For me being scheduled or regimented really means I’m dependable or faithful. It’s funny how others see things completely different isn’t it?
Now to come at this from another angle if you are one who has had a past filled with addiction and a history of being flaky the path to sobriety is probably only going to come with planning and commitment. Without a plan someone struggling with addiction is setting themselves up for failure because they are prone to wander. With the wandering will almost always come trouble and with the trouble will come the excuse to use again. Getting on some sort of schedule is one of the first steps toward getting your life back together. When I was in what I suppose could be called “recovery” the counselor I talked with always had me to write out three short term and three long term goals. Goal setting and accomplishing them is an important part of getting back into the swing of the real world especially after a long time in the land of make believe.
Do you remember how God started this whole thing we call life? The Bible tells us in the beginning God saw that the earth was formless and void, and darkness was there, so the first thing he did was say, “Let there be light.” Then he started to organize things. Once the light was turned on he saw the mess the earth was in and started straightening things out and putting them where they belonged. He divided the land from the water before he let things produce. Once they were in order he said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them.” He made lights to govern the night and lights for the day. I’m not going to write it all here you can read it for yourself, but I think you get my point. God is a God of order, and if we are filled with his Spirit it only seems logical to me that our behavior would reflect his.
In the list of the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians one of them is self-control or if you’re a King James person it’s called temperance. Either way it is an attribute of the Spirit of God in one’s life and not just something this one or that one has. There are plenty of people that act as though they can’t be disciplined, but according to the Bible it is the Spirit of God in the person rather than simply the person. It really just all boils down to how much we want to open ourselves to His control. As we do this he will work the discipline out in our lives as he sees fit. For most of us, like everything else, we have to get our belly full of the disorder, frustration and pain that results from living in the flesh before we are willing to give His Spirit a try.
P.S. Don’t misunderstand me I know when you are walking according to the Spirit changing of plans will occur, but what I’m talking about here is a lifestyle of discipline as opposed to a lifestyle of drifting and disorder. No one else can do it for you, unless of course you end up in jail or prison and then you will no longer have any choice. You see discipline is coming either way. One way or the other it’s coming so we can do this the easy way or the hard way it’s up to you.