Disciplining ourselves to listen to the Lord continually has amazing results. It decides our destiny. The Lord relays His wishes to us from the Word and sensibly prompts with His Spirit for them. Adhering to them will only make us live a better spiritual, emotional and physical life. We simply experience the Lord being with us at every conjuncture. After all, our fate is in His hands. Our days on earth, the kind of life we live and the things we procure are all by His doing. These are inevitably based on whether we listen to Him. People that do not discipline themselves to heed Him experience His doings differently. The result of indiscipline falls on them, since indiscipline leads to disobedience that in turn leads to sin. By disobedience people become susceptible to sin. The longer in it, the more difficult it is to come out of sin. They have very little strength to resist the forms of sin. While disobedience itself is sin, the works born of it are the greater sin. And all sin will have consequences.
The sorrows of many Christians are more often a result of their indiscipline toward listening to the Lord. Now, they exclude the sorrows of the godly, which is by godliness. These have a way of escape from the Lord and will find comfort, joy and blessings. The fruit of their sorrows is righteousness. But, indiscipline is an unhealthy attitude which when in action blinds people to its consequences. It cannot bring them back from sorrow nor stop them from receiving it. Rather, it makes them a people that lack structure. They bring disgrace to the Lord and to the society at large. They relax at the life God has provided them and do not live the life that allowed God to bless them. They are not determined to further up their relationship with Him. The moment indiscipline enters them it works to become the powerhouse of disobedience. As long as it remains in them, they do not listen to the Lord. “But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the LORD which He spoke through Jeremiah the prophet” (Jer. 37:2).
Judah tested the Lord’s patience. Not once, not twice, but numerous times God sent His prophets to restore them to goodness. They did not listen. They needed to strive with all their heart and strength to hear Him, but they chose not to. Yet, they were able to discipline themselves to disregard His Word. See, people always have choice. Many times they get the things they want, because they are able to discipline themselves for them. To win over indiscipline and heed the Lord takes the act of willingness.
Our willingness to let the Lord into all areas of our life gives us the immaculate discipline to heed Him. He has many plans and good things for us, and they all come to light when we let Him teach and guide us. The reasons for our willingness can only be the goodness, wisdom and power of the Lord. Trusting Him by them gives the discipline to listen to Him. Anyone with discipline is without sin. Nathanael is one such man. “Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, ‘Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!’” (John 1:47). Jesus’ witness of him indicates that he deliberately disciplined himself to let God into all areas of his life. He did not do it when at ease or by his liking. In fact, it is not speculating to say that he did it regardless of his condition. It is for this reason alone he was without deceit. It takes practice to attain to such state. We must all want Jesus to have the same witness about us. Discipline gives credibility. Nathanael was a credible man.
Do not let indiscipline creep into your life. You can resist leading a life of indiscipline Judah by keeping your focus on Jesus; you avoid bad consequences. However, if you are in need of discipline, take note in the following and avoid consequences. “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?’” (Acts 5:3). So, recognize indiscipline and eliminate it. It is most definitely known by the fruit it produces. Here are some things to consider.
- Start by evaluating the time you spend every day. Where and how do you invest your time?
- Think of the things you must be doing for the Lord and evaluate your discipline of them. Some of your indiscipline may not be deliberate and so, can be easily rectified.
- Check if the works you do are pleasing to the Lord. Make sure you are not working against Him or doing things your way.
- Seek the Lord’s counsel and strength for obedience. For no one should ever pretend or assume obedience to Him.
There are signs that indicate indiscipline toward listening to the Lord. When they appear, they have already unsteadied life. Indiscipline surfaces as a riskless attitude. It gradually makes people fruitless for the Lord. Fruitlessness causes frustration, sorrow and hopelessness. It makes people helpless to overcome the world. The Lord’s presence escapes them. Furthermore, it cheapens the things they have already accomplished. Hence, the apostle Paul always disciplined his body and made it his slave. There are reasons to discipline ourselves to listen to the Lord.
- To be with gifts. Christians must be with God’s gifts. Gifts are an essential way of maintaining an intimate relationship with Him. They aid us to testify of Him vibrantly. Paul says the following. “So that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:7).
- To exhibit good discipline and be immovable in faith. Nothing gives God more joy than to see us in this manner. It is like parents watching their children become responsible adults. “For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ” (Col. 2:5). If we want the best from God, we must not carry indiscipline.
- To never doubt Christ, but always trust in His ability to surprise us. “But some of them said, ‘Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?’” (John 11:37). Trusting Him when situations are not amiable is one of the finest acts of righteousness. Doubting Him grieves Him and we do not want to go that way. It takes our faith a few steps backwards. He may still help us, but if we continue doubting Him, we risk giving up on the great amount of time spent in trusting Him with His promises.
So, while we listen to the Lord, our destiny to be greater and more useful people for God’s glory is made sure. The signs, such as trust, obedience and overflowing willingness to heed Him appear in us. We do all that He asks of us; good things also come our way. In all things pertaining to God and life we will be no less than our predecessors whom Paul addressed saying, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1).