Prior to any situational eruption, keep weakness at bay by covering the basics with HALT!
H-don’t get too hungry; A-don’t get too angry; L-don’t get too lonely; and T-don’t get too tired. Then later, when feelings are aflutter, when passions converge, and the fusion becomes an illusion, you can stop the confusion, because you are nourished, at peace, relationally healthy, well rested, and refreshed.
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When we maintain self-control and daily discipline, God will show us the payoff. Without some reward, discipline would be horrible. The uphill climb would drain us without the downhill cruise. Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”. Because of the greatness of our God, there are tremendous benefits to living a disciplined life. In the physical domain, we gain self-esteem and energy. We feel vibrant and healthy. Financially, when we bring the tithe, the first 10% of our income, back to God He will bless the rest. Maritally, with consistent date nights, the communication, intimacy, and spiritual relationship with our spouse will flourish. Morally, we can stand before God with a clear conscience. Spiritually, our relationship with God will reach new heights. Pre-arranged choices coupled with the Holy Spirit’s protection will bless our lives in ways we never dreamed possible.
Not only does the sword of the Spirit destroy Satan’s arguments and convict hearts, it also corrects. As new creations reborn into the family of God, the Bible trains us in righteousness and orchestrates life change. Jesus said in John 16:14, “He (Holy Spirit) will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and make it known to you”. The Holy Spirit was gifted to us by God to understand the things of God through His word. However, we cannot gain insight from what we do not know. Without the command of God’s Word in our hearts and minds, we cannot fight off and counterattack the evil one. Great swordsmen are experts at using the sword. We must be knowledgeable and capable of deftly wielding God’s word. We need to read it, study it, feed on it, pray through it, and allow it to teach and convict us. Then we can thrust Satan with Scripture and forcefully expose his weakness. Every time we memorize a new verse or gain insight into specific passages, we are adding ammo to our arsenal. Hebrews 5:13-14 states, “Anyone who lives on milk, still being an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil”. Essentially, just because you own a Bible, does not mean you have taken up the sword.
Many ponder the age-old question, “Why am I here”? As Christ followers, we can readily answer this question due to our faith in the one true living God. He created us to love us, and for us to reciprocate that love to Him. In essence, we are here to glorify and reflect the majesty of our Maker. How we do this can be summarized in one word—worship. Sadly, though, people often mistakenly categorize and compartmentalize worship. They try and place limits on the limitless. Weekly church attendance, prayer, and reading scripture are what many constitute as “worship”. But actually, the expanse of worship, like God, is never-ending. We don’t go to church to worship, we go worshiping. Listening to a sermon does not equate to the glorification of the Lord. We, as Christ followers glorify Him 24/7. Worship is everything we do, say, touch, and feel. Yes, we worship God at church, but we also worship Him in every facet of life. For example, eating a steak can glorify God. Shopping can be an act of worship. Even making love to your spouse reflects the Lord’s majesty. The question is, though, are you seeking God first and reflecting His image with your words, actions, and deeds?
A couple of years ago I was speaking in London and Lisa and I were backstage in this tiny green room. And there were a couple of folks in there serving us some espresso and one of the young ladies, we began to talk to her, and she told us that she was a master apprentice from this master tailor. This guy on Savile Row is one of the best guys in the country when it comes to design. His suits start at like $5,000 and they go up to $20,000 for a suit! And she was telling Lisa and I how she has shadowed him for all these years and he’s taught her the discipline. And she starts just with cutting and knowing the different fabrics. And it was amazing. That is the picture of discipline.
The Bible says in the book of Proverbs, chapter 15, verse 10, “Stern discipline awaits anyone who leaves the path. The one who hates correction will die.” Discipline is about order. God is a God of order. God is a first-place God. He’s not second, he’s not third. It’s so cool to say “family first” or “kids first” but when we put family first or kids first God is second. It’s God (he’s at the top of the order) then the marriage (because that’s the only relationship reflective of God’s relationship with his people), then the kids. That’s the dynamic order that God says. So we discipline around those priorities. The priorities of God, #1. #2, the marriage and #3 the kids. Discipline flows from those things.
Well, the Family Octagon is a true fight. Ultimate fighting. The family is the ultimate fight because we’re fighting for the ultimate. And when we’re fighting for the ultimate we’re fighting for order in this whole thing known as discipline. “Stern discipline (Proverbs 15:10) awaits anyone who leaves the path. The one who hates correction will die.” If I hate correction from God I will never understand what this life is all about. I’ll be a walking corpse. Kids, if you dis discipline, if you don’t pay close attention to it you’ll be a walking corpse. You’ll never understand the vitality and the rhythm and the adventure of this one and only life. So don’t leave the path. Fellowship Church