Learning to be disciplined and dependent
From Letters of Paul: 30-Day Bible Study
God gives us freedom in Jesus freely; it’s a gift.
At the same time, we live daily, working out our salvation with fear and trembling. So staying free takes discipline. It seems like an oxymoron, an idea that contradicts itself; but the Christian life is full of these dichotomies. You have to lose your life to find it. You have to die to yourself in order to live.
Paul warns Timothy to live a disciplined life, but not out of his own strength. Paul’s instructions are to set an example in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. He tells Timothy to devote himself to the public reading of Scripture, exhortation, and teaching; not to neglect his gifts, but to immerse himself in them. He challenges Timothy to watch that he and his teaching stem from the mystery of godliness given to us through Jesus, “manifested in flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, [and] taken up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16).
Our faith is based on something completely miraculous. Any discipline we have can’t be just to serve our own purposes. It is fruit that grows from the root of Christ’s finished work on earth.
King David, who wrote Psalm 25, understood that his strength came from God alone. In Psalm 25, we see a man desperate for God – hungry for His protection, redemption, and vindication. David was a mighty man, leading his nation to prosperity and peace. But he was aware of his faults and his complete lack of goodness apart from God’s sovereign intervention.
Like David, we can accomplish great things in this life, but we have to be intricately connected to the One who has all the power. We won’t “save [ourselves] and [our] hearers” unless we get to know Him daily, spending time praying, in the Word, and with other believers.
- What is one area of your life where God is calling you to have more discipline?
- How can you depend on His strength to accomplish this?