Discipline

As we began having children one of my greatest desires was to not have any regrets as a mom. Now that our kids are 21, 23 and soon to be 26, I will have to say I have some regrets, a lack of patience for one. I also reflect on a time when they were teenagers–God was second in my life but I told them He was first. I regret some of the words I spewed when I was angry at them. I didn’t stop to check off my to-do list. I wish I had realized more fully that time was passing rapidly.

You get the picture. If I could turn back the clock, I would do some things differently. In life I feel we all will have some “regrets” so I want to spend a few minutes encouraging those who have regrets and encourage people to have fewer regrets. :o)

Let me start with this challenge: in order to have fewer regrets, you must have more discipline! I feel we all must suffer one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The pain of discipline weighs ounces compared to the pain of regret which weighs tons. You do not want to substitute regret for discipline.

For me…a more disciplined quiet time of uninterrupted time with God during those years the kids were growing up would have saved me in the regret category. Being still and disciplining myself to read, meditating and feeding on God’s word. I have disciplined myself to read. If I had spent more time seeking the wisdom of others and sitting quietly at God’s feet in the early morning … I know for sure…I would have had more of the fruit of the Spirit called “patience,” “self-control” and discernment.

The great prophet says, “What if you gain the whole world but it costs you your soul?” Please don’t have the regret, nothing is worth that. Discipline in all areas of our lives…spiritual, physical, and mental…brings a profit…an abundance that God has in store for anyone who chooses to discipline themselves.

Scripture teaches us to mentally “take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ” (see 2 Corinthians 10:5). That requires a huge amount of discipline for me. Scripture also tells us, “To be renewed by the transforming of our minds” (see Romans 12:2). And then we are told to “treat your body as a temple”…exercise, diet and sleep. 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” God created us. He knows that all of these things are important in order to live a life without regret!

But what if you are carrying a ton of regret? Do your shoulders feel as if they are breaking from the weight? Scripture addresses this too. Philippians 3:13-14, “Forgetting what is BEHIND and STRAINING toward what is ahead…I PRESS ON toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” [emphasis mine] Isn’t it great? God is a Redeemer, a “very present help”. He forgives, He restores and “He will restore the years the locusts have eaten away” (see Joel 2:25).

To BE MORE requires that you learn from your past, but it is not intended for you to live there! You cannot live on past successes or failures.

There is an interesting thing about all life forms except humans: Every life form except humans strives to the max of its potential. How tall will a tree grow? As tall as it possibly can. You’ve never heard of a tree growing half as tall as it can, have you? A tree produces as many leaves as it can and it drives its roots down as deep as it can. Every life form extends to the max, except humans beings. Now, why not human beings? Because we’re not robots. We’ve been given the dignity of choice by God.

I encourage you today…CHOOSE TO LIVE A LIFE WITH FEW REGRETS. It is a choice. It starts with recognizing you were created by a Holy God who gave you the ability to choose…the dignity to choose. Value your life. Take hold of the choice to discipline yourself…under God’s mighty hand and in due time He will lift you up!

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