As a continuation of the previous post, I will be sharing on the discipline of time, the tongue and possessions as I promised. As we begin let us not forget that discipline is not a means to salvation but salvation makes discipline possible.
This is made possible through God’s grace, the Scripture and the Holy Spirit. As believers we cannot discipline ourselves. It is the Holy Spirit who does the work but we must open our hearts to that work and submit to His control. Before I begin sharing, I would like to add that discipline is a mark of spiritual maturity.
THE DISCIPLINE OF TIME
“Look carefully how you walk, not as unwise but wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:15-17).”
A lot has been said about time. We do not need a motivational speaker to remind us how important time management is. Rather, we need to understand God’s will and cooperate with the Holy Spirit to teach us the discipline of time so that by it we can learn to use the time God has given us in a way that is pleasing to him.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and all his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33).”
For the Christian, time management begins with setting aside time for God. Other things cannot fall into peaceful order if this is omitted. The most important time is that spent alone with the Lord. Moments of solitude in the presence of the Lord cannot be substituted by any other thing. Those who have spent quality time before the Lord know how wonderful this encounter can be, if cultivated.
The best time to do this is early in the morning because it is the only time of day when we can be fairly sure of not being interrupted and because it is best to commune with God before you commune with people. When this is done, your attitude toward people will then arise out of your time with Him.
We all have been given equal time by God to do our earthly duties as well as to do His will. Therefore, the excuse that we do not have enough time is just that- an excuse. There is always enough time to do the will of God.
Many are the times we create our own schedules and if everything does not go according to plan, we become disappointed and frustrated. Frustration is not of God; it is disobedience to God. The Bible tells us not to worry, not to fret and that our hearts should not be troubled. This means that every instance we worry we sin against God because by doing so our lack of trust and faith in the Lord is revealed.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34).
Scripture says that no one by worrying will add a single hour to their lives (Matthew 6:27). Our lives as Christians are worship to God (Romans 12:1). Therefore, we cannot worry and worship at the same time. The two are mutually exclusive. You simply cannot do both. God tells us to cast all our cares to Him because He cares (1 peter 5:7).
As Christians we cannot afford being idle. It has been said that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Have you been wondering why you end up watching ungodly movies despite your conviction not to watch them? Charles Spurgeon wrote and said that when we are idle we tempt the devil to tempt us.
“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).”
Instead of being idle, read the Bible and pray. Seek the Lord and “like newborn infants, long for pure spiritual milk” (1 Peter 2:2). This verse does not address the immaturity in Christians. Instead, it means that all Christians are to be like infants in their longing for “pure spiritual milk” which is the word of God. Do you honestly long to read the Word of God like you look forward to the new episode of that series? If you claim to love God, how much time do you spend with Him in a day?
Other ways you can make good use of your time is by reading Christian literature, doing your studies and doing your hobbies. Another way to avoid wasting time is to come up with a to-do list and the approximate time for each activity. This will restrain you from spending too much time on a certain activity.
Evaluate your life and honestly ask yourself these questions: How many hours do you spend online? How many hours do you spend just chatting and texting? How many hours do you spend playing video games? How many hours do you spend watching movies? How many hours do you spend before God? How much time do you spend praying?
My sharing on the discipline of time cannot be complete without talking about punctuality. Time is a priceless commodity and is said to be the currency of life. If we were to count the minutes and even seconds we have wasted at the end of our lives most of us would be astonished at how many months we have wasted.
I am personally aware of the many instances I have plainly wasted time and I am trusting God to help me be a better steward of the time He has given me. Let us learn to be punctual. Punctual for class, for meetings, for interviews and even for church. When we develop respect for time we will be able to respect other people and their time.
THE DISCIPLINE OF THE TONGUE
“5So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil (James 3: 5-8).”
Apart from our hearts which are deceitful above all things and beyond cure (Jeremiah 17:9), the other part of our body we really need to learn how to control is our tongue. The tongue has power to build or destroy. The words that come out of our mouths cannot be taken back. There is no “undo” button. James 1:26 says, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”
It is through the tongue and the words that come out of our mouth that we lie, gossip, slander, insult and spread malice. All these, among others, are the sins that are as a result of the words that come out of our mouths. Proverbs 10:19 says, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his tongue is prudent.” How many times have you spread private information about other people?
I am well aware of times I have wished I could take back my words. There are times my words have hurt others and I know it even though they didn’t tell me. I have also been on the receiving end of remarks that have really hurt and wounded me. It is not necessarily insults but also the words that are said without being sensitive to other people.
“Let your speech always be seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person (Colossians 4:5).”
There are times have we make coarse jokes without being sensitive to the victim of the joke. They might not even show they are hurt but these jokes may deeply wound them. Such jokes may be about a person’s physical looks, family, personality, background and even the stereotypes in our society.
THE DISCIPLINE OF POSSESSIONS
“15Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life [possessions] – is not from the Father but is from the world.” 1 John 2:15-16.
We are well familiar of the good things in life- education, technology, good houses, designer clothes, shoes and fancy cars. The world is filled with things that are so pleasing and enticing. These things in themselves are not bad but it is the value that we attach to them that causes us to sin by making idols out of them.
You don’t need to have a creepy carved artifact in your room to practice idolatry. Whatever competes with God in your heart is an idol. Anything you put before God is an idol. Anything that you can’t stop thinking about is an idol. Anything you want with all your heart is an idol. Anything that you give all your love is an idol.
Do you want to know the idol in your life? Simply ask yourself what is the one thing apart from God that when taken from you makes you feel like the world has come to an end? Is it your phone? Your beauty and looks? Technology? Your spouse? Is it your relationship with that young man/woman? This calls for us to jealously guard our heart for from it flows the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23).
All things under the sun have been given to us by God to use according to His will and for His glory. The moment we exalt the created things above the Creator we sin against God who is the giver of all good things. He has given them to us to use for a while for we are on a journey and this world is not our home. We are just passers-by and our citizenship is in heaven.
Therefore, this simply means that we should hold on to the things of this world loosely. We may enjoy them for a while but we should watch out that we do not hold on to them closely. The way to know how much you value something is by first evaluating the time and money you spend on it (in that order).
The discipline of possessions also means that we should not hold on to things that we do not use. In the same light, we should evaluate our needs and our wants. Needs being those that we sincerely have to have while wants being of less priority and can do without. Is your closet full of clothes and shoes you haven’t won in a year? Why not give them to the needy?
All this boils down to how we view wealth and prosperity- our worldview. The god of materialism has captured our young hearts. God has been revealing to me the materialism lurking in my heart. Simply ask yourself these questions. Do you view prosperity in terms of number of cars and houses owned? Do you strain your neck to “escort” that Mercedes when it passes by? Are you keen to note how people are dressed and the value of their clothes?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions it reveals a materialistic heart. I am not saying that you do not recognize something good when you see it. This goes beyond just recognizing. If someone is smartly dressed, tell them out of a pure heart without any hint of envy.
Thank you for your time. look out for more posts by following the blog to receive updates via email. Be blessed.