Discipline : Pastor's thoughts
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by DAVID GOODFELLOW on 06/12/17

This is still being fleshed out, but like to share a little with you. As many of you know, I go to the gym Monday through Friday at 5:00 am, most Saturdays at 7:00 am, and once in a while on Sundays at 7:00 am (I’m not sure why they don’t open early on the weekends).


You can go to the gym every day and workout and it will make you stronger, tone you, and make you more flexible (if you are not going to bulk up). If you are going to the gym to lose weight you may be in for a rude awakening. Yes, you will lose initially, but, as my trainer has said, weight loss is 70% diet and only 30% workout (some say 80/20).


I’m a good example of that. I went from 305lbs to 205lbs and then gained 20lbs because I stopped watching how much I ate. I lost the 100lbs, not by drinking power shakes, taking supplements, etc. I lost it by not eating as much as I used to. When you go from eating up to 4000 calories a day to around 2000 you are bound to lose (even if you don’t work out). You can look up the average calorie intake for a man/woman on the internet. By the way, when you drop down to around 2000 calories a day (for a man), you do change what and how you eat just naturally.


Why am I sharing this? I got lazy…I stopped being disciplined…I got complacent thinking I could eat more. WRONG!


Don’t we do that in our spiritual lives? Don’t we get lazy? We are gun ho for a bit and we feel the power of God working in our lives and we think “we arrived” and become complacent or undisciplined and we gain 20lbs. We don’t go to church as often, we don’t go to Bible Study or prayer. We don’t get as involved. We don’t see the power of God working as much, and we wonder why. We are not as happy, we let things bother us that didn’t before. There are many things that happen, most of them subtle. I’m not saying that we sin (and, yes, we are more susceptible to sin), but we do lose the joy and power and even a sound mind (self-discipline) (2 Timothy 1:7).


2 Timothy 1:7

ou gar edwken hmin o Qeoj pneuma deiliaj alla dunamewj kai agaphj kai swfronismou.

7  For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. NIV (the NIV/NASB actually translate this passage closest to the Greek)


My problem wasn’t the working out, it was the thought that I made it, and became undisciplined in how much I was eating.


I know many factors weigh in on the equation. That is why my trainer insists on a wholistic approach. If we are “lacking” in one area…it effects/affects the rest. Same with our spiritual lives. If we don’t feel well, or are hurting, or angry, etc. it does effect/affect everything else. That is where discipline comes in.


Paul says he “buffets” (disciplines, beats) his body so he doesn’t become disqualified. In Hebrews it says don’t forsake the assembling of ourselves together. When we become undisciplined we become more “fleshly” and it’s easy to gain that 20lbs. Read the following as Paul explains the three types of people: natural, spiritual, and carnal (fleshly). We fall in one of these categories. Read also the Hebrews passage.


1 Corinthians 2:14-3:3

14  But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.
15  But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.
16  For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.
1  And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.
2  I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able,
3  for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?


Hebrews 5:11-14

11  About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
12  For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,
13  for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.
14  But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.


Peter says it another way (but doesn’t contradict the above):


1 Peter 2:2 (NASB)

2  like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation…



Peter ends his letters with this...in which we should heed.


2 Peter 3:18 (NASB)

18  but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.


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Smithfield Avenue Congregational Church
514 Smithfield Avenue
Pawtucket, RI  02860